Travelers and Tourism Business Providers: Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

— Written By Maude Dinan

May 6-11, 2019, marked this year’s Hurricane Preparedness Week. This week is designed to reflect, prepare, and educate on hurricane season, which officially begins June 1st. North Carolina is no stranger to this type of storm. This past year alone, we experienced two sea-born storms that devastated local communities and hindered several of the state’s industries, including tourism. Despite our familiarity with hurricanes, we should refresh our knowledge and prepare early. Hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent, but we can build community resilience with preemptive action.

Hurricane season aligns with tourism season to North Carolina’s coastal regions. If you are a traveler preparing for hurricane season, remember that the storm won’t take you by surprise–hurricanes take days to develop. Follow weather reports closely and pack a battery-powered radio to access information if the destination loses power during your trip. Prior to traveling, contact your hotel or Airbnb provider to obtain the rental’s hurricane protocols. If possible, consider investing in travel insurance that will cover canceled flights and rentals. And remember, travelers should comply with local evacuation orders. The ReadyNC App provides evacuation, real-time traffic, and weather information for safe and efficient evacuation procedures.

Tourism providers can take multiple steps to protect their business operations and employees. Owners should inventory what is important to their business and check with their insurance providers to ensure they are adequately covered for hurricane damage. In addition, owners should store important physical documents in water-safe containers and backup data, potentially to Cloud systems. To maintain some electricity in the event of a power-outage, owners should consider purchasing a generator. Lastly, owners should train employees in accordance with the business’ hurricane protocols: communication with guests, evacuation or shelter-seeking drills, and pre-emptive maintenance such as boarding windows.

Whether you are a traveler, resident, or tourism provider, consider preparing for hurricane season now.