Behavioral Response of Hotel Employees to Hurricane Warnings on Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands
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Whether a person has had experience with a tropical cyclone or not has been proven to be an indicator of the likelihood to evacuate in a future event. The bulk of these studies cover members of the community and disregard characteristics unique to a migratory expatriate community, particularly on a small island where hurricane impacts are experienced acutely and in ways other than on the mainland. Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands, thrives on its financial and tourism industries. The Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman employ workers drawn from The Cayman Islands and a multitude of other countries.
A survey conducted with employees of the two resorts sought to determine the circumstances under which employees would evacuate their homes to another shelter on-island and under which conditions employees would evacuate the island to seek shelter in another country. The two resorts were chosen because each resort markets itself to different clientele, and the resorts employ markedly different numbers of workers with diverse backgrounds. The three-page survey included questions to collect demographic information, the employee’s exposure to hurricanes in Grand Cayman and previous places of residence, and what the employee would do given certain scenarios of a hurricane impacting Grand Cayman. Employees were also asked how much they would be willing to pay to evacuate off-island and if they left, to what location would they go and why. Findings indicate that employees of the resort are aware of the dangers associated with hurricanes and change the magnitude of their preparations in relation to the forecasted intensity of the approaching hurricane. This study contributes to the literature on hurricane preparedness, how experience influences future protective actions, and whether being local gives one an added edge for being prepared for local hazards, particularly in the tourism sector where research is currently behind the prevalence of resorts in hazardous locations for hurricanes and other geophysical hazards.