For small biz reliant on summer tourism, extreme weather is the new pandemic — for better or worse

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. afloat / əˈfloʊt / (adj.) – having enough money to survive and stay out of debt

    The business stayed afloat during the pandemic by selling its products online.

  2. pent-up / ˈpɛntˈʌp / (adj.) – (of feelings) not released or expressed for a long time

    After a very long lockdown, there was a pent-up desire among people to go outside and have fun.

  3. cadence / ˈkeɪd ns / (n.) – a regular and repeated pattern of an event or activity

    The return to traditional class cadences after the pandemic was challenging for many students.

  4. at the mercy of (someone/something) / ət ðə ˈmɜr si əv / (idiom) – controlled by or under the power of something that causes harm or damage

    Farmers in this region are often at the mercy of unpredictable weather.

  5. bump / bʌmp / (n.) – an increase in something

    The store experienced a significant bump in customers after receiving a positive review on social media.


Read the text below.

For small businesses that rely on summer tourism to keep afloat, extreme weather is replacing the pandemic as the determining factor in how well a summer will go.

The pandemic had its ups and downs for tourism, with a total shutdown followed by a rush of vacations due to pent-up demand. This year, small businesses say vacation cadences are returning to normal. But now, they have extreme weather to deal with — many say it’s hurting business, but more temperate spots are seeing a surge.

Tourism-related businesses have always been at the mercy of the weather. But with heat waves, fires and storms becoming more frequent and intense, small businesses increasingly see extreme weather as their next long-term challenge.

For Jared Meyers, owner of Legacy Vacation Resorts, Hurricane Idalia’s landfall as a Category 3 storm led to a loss in revenue as he temporarily closed one resort and closed another to new guests. It also means a lengthy cleanup period to fix the gutter and other damage and beach cleanup, including replanting of sea grass, sea grapes and other plants to protect against the next storm.

Media focus on extreme weather can hurt business, too. Dan Dawson, owner of Horizon Divers in Key Largo, Florida, saw his business boom during the pandemic. Now it’s back to pre-pandemic levels. But when storms like Idalia close in, tourists flee.

Still, in some places that offer a respite from the heat and storms, businesses are getting an unexpected bump. At Little America Flagstaff, a hotel set in 500 acres (202 hectares) of private forest celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, temperatures in the 90s felt pleasant compared to the record-breaking heat in Phoenix, a two-hour drive to the south, which had temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit-plus (43.4 degrees Celsius) for 31 straight days.

Similarly, at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island, a historic island in Lake Michigan that doesn’t allow cars, temperatures have hovered in the temperate 70s while other places around the country have seen triple-digit heat. That leaves Michigan tourists often rubbing elbows with visitors from other states.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Would you prioritize visiting places that offer relief from extreme weather over other factors like cultural attractions or adventure opportunities? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Have the travel preferences of people in your country changed? Why do you say so? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think are the pros and cons of media coverage of extreme weather conditions (ex. pro: it contributes to public safety, con: it creates fear and panic)? Discuss.
  • As a tourist, do you think your travel plans are influenced by media coverage of extreme weather events in certain destinations? Why or why not? Discuss.