Conference kickstarts social media fight against extreme weather
The social media site Twitter is to be used as a weapon in Plymouth and throughout the South West in the fight against extreme weather and its effect on the local economy.
The decision was made during a recent conference at the National Aquarium, called ‘Keeping tourism alive in the face of extreme weather.’
Chair of the event, David Wheeler, Executive Dean of Plymouth University said:
“It was a really lively meeting with lots of interest and discussion. We rely very heavily on tourism, which brings in 23 million visitors to the South West each year – we need to ensure that as the climate changes our tourist businesses make the necessary adjustments to grow those numbers whatever the weather is doing”
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The conference was organised by Climate SouthWest and saw representatives from the Met Office, Network Rail, Plymouth University, Coast-One Planet Tourism and a whole range of small to medium-sized tourism businesses discussed a range of topics.
These included how businesses could get people to come to the South West if regional rain is forecast - one of the solutions, which was a direct result of the conference, is a new ‘Twitter Hashtag’ that will allow people to get information on the conditions at a more local level, as well as specific holiday advice, come rain or shine.
Kate Willett from the Met Office said:
"From rain to shine, our variable weather plays a large part in our culture and landscape - there is beauty in both ice creams on the beach and local ales by a cosy fire."
Using the hashtag #weatherornot, local businesses or individuals can to tweet pictures and information for visitors on where to go and what to do in any kind of weather. The hashtag also offers local businesses a chance to communicate and share advice or information with each other on a regular basis.
The hashtag is an addition to a website tool created by Climate SouthWest a couple of years ago which lets businesses check whether they are at risk from extreme weather and other impacts of climate change.
The website is called http://www.climateprepared.com.