The impacts of foot and mouth disease on a peripheral tourism area: the role and effect of crisis management.
Anderson, Alistair R.
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This study reports on the consequences of endemic cattle and sheep disease (2001) on two separate areas on the tourist industry; a) the Grampian Region of Scotland (indirectly affected) and b) Cumbria in England, (directly affected), and secondly on the effects of various crisis management strategies to alleviate the ensuing problems in both areas. Data were collected by a survey of a sample of 200 tourism orientated SME operators in Grampian and 170 businesses in Cumbria. The results show two forms of impact caused by the disease, direct and those less obvious or tangible. Direct impact was the dramatic loss of trade, most dramatically experienced by the lack of tourists visiting the areas. Indirect effects included loss of supply, change to the product offered and cuts in future investment. In the combination of these impacts, it was clear that the effects would have longevity far beyond the period of the actual crisis. Although the actual presence of the disease was geographically limited in Grampian, the consequences rippled out to affect areas that had no direct connection. In Cumbria, the effects were only slightly more severe but the response more direct and initially effective. Significantly the data also demonstrated a perception of minimal effort by the government to limit the consequences to the farming industry especially in Grampian. We conclude that the tourist industry in peripheral regions is fragile and highly vulnerable to any external shocks. However, we also note the ability of small rural firm to respond to such catastrophes and to avert the worst impacts of crisis.