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Assessing tourism business resilience in Virginia Beach

Lindsay E. Usher (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)
Juita-Elena (Wie) Yusuf (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)
Michelle Covi (Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 15 August 2019

Issue publication date: 9 June 2020




The purpose of this paper is to assess the resilience of tourism businesses in a coastal city in the USA to coastal hazards and severe weather events. The researchers developed a framework for assessing the resilience of coastal tourism businesses and demonstrated the applicability of the framework using the case study of Virginia Beach.


Researchers conducted structured, face-to-face interviews with tourism business owners and managers, using an instrument based on an assessment framework with five components: vulnerability, business planning and operations, preparation and recovery planning, communications and workforce. In total, 32 participants representing 42 businesses in the accommodations, restaurants, retail and activities sectors at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront were interviewed.


Many participants did not feel highly vulnerable due to structural mitigation efforts taken by the city. Larger businesses undertook more strategic planning, preparedness and recovery planning. All businesses had effective ways of communicating with staff and customers, and through membership in local organizations, had access to resources. While not all businesses prioritized training for employees, they recognized the importance of providing support for staff during severe weather events.


As one of the few studies on tourism resilience in the USA, this study highlights the variability of resilience among tourism businesses within a destination.



Usher, L.E., Yusuf, J.-E.(W). and Covi, M. (2020), "Assessing tourism business resilience in Virginia Beach", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 397-414.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, International Tourism Studies Association

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