Many parts of the UK are suffering the effects of severe weather right now – none less so than the West Country. This is badly affecting all kinds of operations, but most notably agriculture, fishing, tourism, hospitality and retail businesses. Cornish fishermen have not been able to put to sea for nearly two months due to adverse sea conditions; there are many square miles of agricultural land under water; seaside attractions and resorts have been damaged by storms; and the rail link to Devon and Cornwall has been washed away by the sea at Dawlish. There is no doubt that operators are facing a crisis.
We discuss crisis management on page 349, and idea that you can ‘plan’ for these by undertaking business continuity planning. But there are clearly limits to what BCP can do. There is no prospect of business continuity for the fisherman that cannot get out to sea, nor the farmer who land has been ruined by floodwater. However for other types of business, where production or service can be maintained during this kind of crisis, or restored swiftly after an event, BCP is important.
A key feature of this is to manage public and customer perception. Right now Cornwall is experiencing a downshift in both business and leisure travellers, due to their concern about conditions there and the difficulty of getting to the county. So Cornwall has now started a social media campaign promoting the idea that it is ‘open for business’, as Rick Stein explains on this Yahoo video. But this idea is not new. In 2010 there were serious floods, and a similar campaign was launched then. In the video (below) the Head of Tourism explains the concept.