YANG YANG, PHD: TOURIST BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS USING ONLINE REVIEW DATA    March 15, 2019   Dr. Yang is currently an assistant professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at  Temple University . He received his Ph.D. in Geography, Master of Statistics, and M.A in Economics from  University of Florida , as well as an M.Phil in Hotel and Tourism Management from  the Hong Kong Polytechnic University . Dr. Yang’s major research interests lie in tourism demand analysis, big data analytics, as well as hotel financial and real estate analysis.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     With a solid education background in tourism, geography, economics, and statistics, Dr. Yang is able to thoroughly investigate research questions in the tourism and hospitality industry and offer unique insights and perspectives. After ten years of research experience, Dr. Yang’s academic papers have been published in top-tier tourism and hospitality journals. At the same time, he has been serving as associate editor of Annals of Tourism Research as well as editorial board member for many prestigious journals.  In his presentation, he discussed a tourist behavior analysis through TripAdvisor data, these examples include “(1). geo-spatial analysis of location satisfaction (2) analysis of sleep quality, and (3) temporal contiguity and review rating (does time dulls the pain).” These factors were decided on in order to find out which factors influence a tourist on their destination, excursions, and amenities.  So the primary goal of the research was to understand guest satisfaction with urban hotel locations.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Most of the data collected on TripAdvisor is review based so when doing the initial analysis of the data, the specific data points that were being observed needed to be pulled from each individual review on the site. A lot of smaller factors seems to be driving for tourists and the decision making process for any hotel - i.e. free parking, location to attractions and airports, as well as green spaces/bodies of water. It is interesting to see where the trends go, but being able to quantify the reviews of individuals into tangible takeaways is vital to tourism development and destination marketing.  The next park of Dr. Yang’s research was a conceptual framework of factors that influence sleep quality in hotels based on personal and hotel characteristics. This data shows, “By analyzing TripAdvisor hotel review data in Los Angeles, I estimate a mixed-effects ordered logit model to understand the factors that influence sleep quality as well as the hotel sleeping environment as indicated by sentiment analysis.“ The findings of this study show that there are many variables, including age, gender, traveler type, and review experience.

YANG YANG, PHD: TOURIST BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS USING ONLINE REVIEW DATA

Dr. Yang is currently an assistant professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University. He received his Ph.D. in Geography, Master of Statistics, and M.A in Economics from University of Florida, as well as an M.Phil in Hotel and Tourism Management from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dr. Yang’s major research interests lie in tourism demand analysis, big data analytics, as well as hotel financial and real estate analysis.

       TRSM STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS: Fiji, new zealand, and australia!    March 13, 2019   This summer, the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management is offering students the option to study abroad in a variety of international locations in the South Pacific. These study abroad programs are being put on by AUIP (American Universities International Programs Limited) where students have the opportunity to study a wide range of topics within ecotourism, resource conservation, and cultural studies.  “Studying abroad in Australia was easily the greatest experience of my life. Being able to snorkel in one of the natural wonders of the world, seeing so many wildlife species not found anywhere else, and being able to experience it all with a fantastic group of friends was something I will cherish the rest of my life.”    - Ethan Klohr, Sport Management Major, Australia Participant     Below is a brief description of each program:    UF in Fiji:   This 10-day faculty-led experiential program uses the theme of sustainable development to explore the relationship between people and the natural environment. We examine the complex relationships between Fijian cultural practices, environmental conservation, and eco-tourism. Despite several centuries of outside contact and a unique ethnic mix, traditional Fijian values and customs still flourish and have a profound influence on the connection between people and the land. Fiji is a low-cost layover on the return flight to the U.S. and by combining Fiji with Australia or New Zealand, you could earn 9 credits.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      UF in New Zealand:   This three and a half-week faculty-led experiential program will examine resource conservation and the natural, and related social, history of New Zealand. New Zealand’s isolation, after its separation from the ancient Gondwanaland millions of years ago, has left this island nation with a unique natural heritage. The plants and animals that have evolved here are unknown elsewhere in the world. In this course you’ll use New Zealand as a case study to examine different cultural perspectives on the three pillars of sustainability: environment, social equity, and economics.     UF in New Zealand and Fiji:   This program is a combination of both the New Zealand program and the Fiji program, which will see you travelling for 5 weeks. This faculty-led experiential program uses the theme of sustainable development to explore the relationship between people and the natural environment in both countries, examining the complex relationships between New Zealand and Fijian cultures, environmental conservation, and eco-tourism with a view on sustainable business. Fiji is a low-cost layover on the return flight to the U.S. and by combining Fiji with New Zealand, you earn 9 credits.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      UF in Australia:   This four-week faculty-led experiential program uses the theme of sustainable development to explore the relationship between people and their natural environment. North Queensland boasts some of the most diverse and remarkable natural resources in the southern hemisphere. Known as the Sunshine State, Queensland is home to lush rain forests, Outback scrub and desert, and the spectacular marine diversity of the Great Barrier Reef. The program also includes time in Sydney, Australia’s largest city.    For more information, please email   hgibson@hhp.ufl.edu

TRSM STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS: Fiji, new zealand, and australia!

This summer, the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management is offering students the option to study abroad in a variety of international locations in the South Pacific. These study abroad programs are being put on by AUIP (American Universities International Programs Limited) where students have the opportunity to study a wide range of topics within ecotourism, resource conservation, and cultural studies.

       Tourism, Hospitality, and event management students visit Disney’s yellow shoes creative agency   February 22, 2019     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management was invited to take place in a networking opportunity and site visit of the Yellow Shoes Creative Group, the in-house ad agency for the Walt Disney World Company in Celebration, Florida. This award winning agency houses a wide range of writers, artists, and creatives who are campaign designers for all of Walt Disney World Companies brands, i.e. Disney Parks, Resorts, Disney Cruise Lines, etc.  During the site visit, students were greeted by the team as well as   Matthew Ryan   and   Kelli Kaufmann   (both   University of Florida   alums) who helped orchestrate the visit. The students and faculty were welcomed to a seminar and question and answer session with a variety of Yellow Shoes creatives where they showed some of their most recent published work. A lot of the talk was geared toward career growth and how students can make it in the creative production industry as well as some of the day to day experiences that each of them face.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     This was a great experience for some of our undergraduate and graduate students to go and network in the industry with some of the most cutting-edge content creators. The Walt Disney Co. is the industry leader and it was great to gain some knowledge from the creative minds behind the magic!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Taylor Kopka, Undergrad TRSM student says, “This trip was incredibly insightful and I really was taken back to see where Disney’s innovative content is coming from. The team at Yellow Shoes is among the best out there and it truly shows in the work that they put out. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and hope that this is something other students will be able to experience.”

Tourism, Hospitality, and event management students visit Disney’s yellow shoes creative agency

The Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management was invited to take place in a networking opportunity and site visit of the Yellow Shoes Creative Group, the in-house ad agency for the Walt Disney World Company in Celebration, Florida. This award winning agency houses a wide range of writers, artists, and creatives who are campaign designers for all of Walt Disney World Companies brands, i.e. Disney Parks, Resorts, Disney Cruise Lines, etc.

       Tourist Tax Elasticity in Florida: Spatial Effects of County-Level Room Tax Rate Variation with brian mills   February 22, 2019     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Brian Mills, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida. His research interests encompass topics such as the sports labor market, industrial organization and sports league policy (demand, competitive balance, revenue sharing, etc.), public policy and economic development related to sport, and advanced analytics in the sports business. He is especially interested in applying economic lessons and quantitative analysis to problems that sport managers face in their everyday decision making.  We examine the spatial, county-level incidence of changes to tourist tax rates in Florida from 2003 to 2014. Florida allows county-level visitor tax increments to fund various tourism-related initiatives. As a result, there is considerable variation in visitor tax rates across counties and across time. Using a dynamic spatial autoregressive panel model, we show that direct and indirect effects of room tax rate changes on taxable hotel room expenditures are relatively small and largely exported to visitors. Because these taxes have most recently been allowed for funding Major League Baseball Spring Training facilities, we also test whether these facilities impact hotel tax collections. We find no measurable effects of a small number of facility relocations on overall tourist spending in the new or previous home counties. We also discuss the importance of considering contiguous spillovers and the use of cluster-robust standard errors in panel estimation of tax incidence for tourism.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Overall, consumer responses to small changes in bed taxes were limited, with only marginal evidence of changes to consumer hotel room purchase behavior. The paper also estimates spillover effects of nearby counties with lower tax rates, finding at most small increases to hotel revenues when neighboring counties increase their bed tax. Ultimately, we find that small changes in the bed tax are not particularly harmful to the hotel sector. This information could provide additional context for the geographic variation in tax revenue elasticities estimated in the preliminary models.” For future work, Dr. Mills recommends that there is further research and testing done on the strategic tax responses.

Tourist Tax Elasticity in Florida: Spatial Effects of County-Level Room Tax Rate Variation with brian mills

Brian Mills, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida. His research interests encompass topics such as the sports labor market, industrial organization and sports league policy (demand, competitive balance, revenue sharing, etc.), public policy and economic development related to sport, and advanced analytics in the sports business. He is especially interested in applying economic lessons and quantitative analysis to problems that sport managers face in their everyday decision making.

       Dr. JinWon Kim: Spatial hedonic Analysis of Hotel Room Price and GPS-Based mobile EXERCISE app. For National park management   February 14th, 2019     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Jinwon Kim, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida. The overall goal of his research is to identify the role of recreation, park and tourism in the creation of active, vibrant, sustainable and resilient communities. To achieve his research goal, Dr. Kim’s research has focused on three areas: (1) community development, policy and sustainability; (2) water-based tourism and recreation; (3) applications of geographic information system (GIS) and spatial technologies (GPS, RS, LiDAR) in tourism/recreation planning, development and management. As a tourism/recreation/community geographer, Dr. Kim is especially interested in applying geospatial concepts and analytical methodologies to problems that tourism and recreation managers face in their everyday decision making. His academic papers have been published in tourism, leisure, recreation, business, geography, environmental planning, community development, and public policy journals. His research has been funded by a variety of agencies and organizations including Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Korea National Park Service, and Korea Energy Economics Institute.    Project 1: Why Are Hotel Room Prices Different? Exploring Spatially Varying Relationships Between Room Price and Hotel Attributes      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In one of his more recent projects, Dr. Jinwon Kim looked at the spatial variations among hotel room price as well as hotel attributes. This study was completed to see the different types of influences that directly affect hotel room pricing based on a hotels location and its attributes. The analysis was done on 387 hotels in the Chicago area in order to see if a location-based hotel room pricing strategy could potentially be used to maintain and monitor pricing. In the figure to right, this is an urban analysis of the 387 hotels plotted based on proximity and further separated into their regional groups. A lot of the conclusions from this study were practical knowledge, but in order to determine whether or a location-based strategy was feasible. Based on the research done by Dr. Kim, hotels rely heavily on the location to market and sell their rooms in comparison to their competing or neighboring hoteliers. This project was published in Journal of Business Research.    Project 2: GPS-Based Mobile Exercise Application: An Alternative Tool to Assess Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Visitors’ Activities in a National Park   One of the other projects Dr. Kim has been hard at work with is his cutting edge research being done with a GPS-Based Mobile Exercise Application. With the use of a GPS-based mobile exercise application dataset, this study explored the spatio-temporal behaviors of visitors’ activities in Seoraksan National Park, South Korea. A total of 1,206 anonymous mobile application users along with their 2,571 activity start points were acquired for January 2015 to December 2015. Very little research has been done in this sector and Dr. Jinwon Kim along with Dr. Brijesh Thapa (UF TRSM Faculty) have begun the trend of spatial analysis through a mobile phone app with a GPS feature. Having tangible data that can show the patterns of visitors in a given National Park, is essential to the future growth of the National Parks system. Overall this research program is a fresh and innovative idea that can be utilized around the world in all National Parks, because it is in a mobile application, there is an incentive for more physical activity as visitors of the park are now cognizant of the GPS. This project was published in the  Journal of Park and Recreation Administration.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Location and Type of Seasonal Hourly Activity Hot Spots in Seoraksan National Park

Dr. Jin-Won Kim: Spatial Analysis of Hotel Room Pricing and GPS-Based mobile EXERCISE app

Jin-Won Kim, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida, USA. The overall goal of his research is to identify the role of tourism, recreation and parks in the creation of active, vibrant, sustainable and resilient communities. In one of his more recent projects, Dr. Jin-Won Kim looked at the spatial variations among hotel room price as well as hotel attributes. One of the other projects Dr. Kim has been hard at work with is his cutting edge research being done with a GPS-Based Mobile Exercise Application.

       DOCTORAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: DANIELLE BARBE and her work with social media and crisis communications   February 8, 2019     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     EFTI is always looking ahead for our future innovators, decision makers, and researchers in Tourism. One of our many outstanding students, Danielle Barbe is a doctoral student in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management at the University of Florida (UF). Danielle’s research is focused on present-day trends, where she looks at the strategies behind social media influence and crisis communication in the tourism and hospitality industry.  At UF, Danielle works closely with the  Tourism Crisis Management Initiative , conducting research on the ways to improve crisis management strategies in the tourism industry. Danielle also received her Master of Science degree at UF with her thesis relating to tourists’ engagement in risk mitigation behaviors, specifically focusing one engagement in behaviors to reduce the risks of passport theft while traveling internationally.     Her Work   Danielle began her academic career with Ryerson University where she received her Bachelor’s of Commerce in Hospitality and Tourism Management. While pursuing her degree, Danielle took part in a multi-stage, exploratory research study regarding technology adoption/non-adoption in festival contexts, with a specific focus on social media. Through her doctorate degree, Danielle is merging this background and expertise in social media with her newly found passion for research on risk and crisis management.   Danielle has recently completed multiple studies relating to on crisis communication and social media. These studies focus on a variety of crises, from  terrorism  to  natural disasters , as well as on the different  hospitality  and tourism organizations who are responsible for communicating to tourists during these events.     Currently, one of the biggest research projects Danielle completed was her work on Assessing the impact of Instagram influencers on destination image and travel intentions: How cultural distance plays a role The findings of this study will be presented at the upcoming International Communication Associations conference in Washington, DC March 24-28. With influencer marketing being such a trend in the industry right now, a lot of research needs to be done to understand the strategies and decision-making process behind consumers and travelers. Danielle, along with the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative are making these strides everyday!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      When she’s not Working   After asking Danielle what originally drew her to the industry, she talked of her passion for soccer, where she is and Arsenal FC fan. One of her favorite memories of when she first moved to Florida, as a native Canadian, was finding an Arsenal FC Supporters club in Gainesville, where she went to go watch the Arsenal FC team play at a sports bar and made a whole room of friends by the end of the night just from talking about the team. When she’s not researching or studying, you can find Danielle travelling the globe for a wide range of reasons, as she as an avid attendee for the World Cup and has attended in both Russia and Brasil. Aside from that, Danielle’s true passions lie in teaching where she loves to make an impact in the classroom everyday. Danielle Barbe is a wonderful piece of the EFTI team, and we are so thankful for her dedication and passion for success.

DOCTORAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: DANIELLE BARBE and her work with social media and crisis communications

EFTI is always looking to the ahead for our future innovators, decision makers, and researchers in Tourism. One of our many outstanding students, Danielle Barbe is a doctoral student in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management at the University of Florida (UF). Danielle’s research is focused more on present-day trends, where she looks at the strategies and risk perceptions behind social media influence and crisis communication in terms of travel influence.

       DR.  ANDREI KIRILENKO: NEGOTIATION OF THE SUMMARY FOR POLICY MAKERS OF THE 6TH GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK    January 21-24th, 2018         

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     We are so excited to welcome back one of our TRSM professors, Dr. Andrei Kirilenko as he just returned from serving as the Global Environment Outlook Author/Expert of Climate for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) GEO-6 summit in Nairobi, Kenya. “The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is a consultative and participatory process to prepare an independent assessment of the state of the environment, the effectiveness of the policy response to address these environmental challenges and the possible pathways to be achieve various internationally agreed environmental goals“ (GEO, UNEP website).  Dr. Kirilenko does have a past with the United Nations and the process has taken around 5 years where he began as one of the initial members of the Assessment on Climate of Europe in which a team of experts surveyed Europe to see the steps of environmental protection and opportunities for growth within the continent. This process then led to his position in the Global Environment Outlook where he has been a key member in the overall development and strategics of environmental protection globally.   Andrei Kirilenko, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management at the University of Florida. Dr. Kirilenko’s studies stem back from a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Computing Center of Russian Academy of Sciences, a M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Moscow State University in Russia as well as his Postdoctoral research titled: US Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, OR; European Forest Institute, Joensuu, Finland. Currently, Dr. Kirilenko is increasingly involved in multidisciplinary studies, which include scholars in both natural and social sciences such as political and tourism research. One of the examples of such projects is a study of the difference in attitudes of the US and UK mass-media towards applying the “precautionary principle” to environmental protection.     The Conference and Intergovernmental Meeting   Dr. Kirilenko’s role as GEO author and Expert of Climate for the UNEP GEO-6 summit was integral in the procession of this summit. If any of the UN delegates or members of the secretariat had a question on anything related to climate, it would be sent to Dr. Kirilenko to answer. This conference and summit lasted between January 21st-24th where discussions ranged between greenhouse gases, oceans and coasts, freshwater, etc. These discussions led to talks on the next steps for the UNEP and GEO-6 groups; such as the need for urgent, sustained inclusive actions on all previously discussed and look more deeply into sustainable pathways.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Key Takeaways   After getting the chance to speak with Dr. Kirilenko, he defines the experience as “eye-opening” as he sat upon the board of the summit full of key members and policymakers with the power to make change internationally. Dr. Kirilenko’s specific focus for this summit was on climate as he was the “Author/Expert on Climate” meaning any delegates, policymakers, or secretariat members were able to forward any questions about climate on to him for response. Some of the biggest takeaways he discussed were the initial surprise at how tedious the process of international negotiations were and how tough these summits are on policymakers. The negotiations part of the summit would last hours in order to pass single paragraphs and points which ended in a 700 page idea proposal. From there the draft is cut down to 42 pages, where it is then reduced to its final form of two pages which will arrive on the desks of key policymakers and offices throughout each country.

DR. ANDREI KIRILENKO: NEGOTIATION OF THE SUMMARY FOR POLICY MAKERS OF THE 6TH GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK

We are so excited to welcome back one of TRSM professors, Dr. Andrei Kirilenko as he just returned from serving as the Global Environment Outlook Author/Expert of Climate for the United Nations Environment Programme. “The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is a consultative and participatory process to prepare an independent assessment of the state of the environment, the effectiveness of the policy response to address these environmental challenges and the possible pathways to be achieve various internationally agreed environmental goals“ (GEO, UNEP website).

       DR. LORI PENNINGTON-GRAY TALKS DESTINATION RESILIENCE - SETTING THE PRECEDENT   January 27th, 2019        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     “With the rise in the number of crises globally that are affecting our industry, it is no longer simply enough to look at planning from a crisis management perspective alone.”  Over the past year, Professor Lori Pennington-Gray has published a number of articles in the realm of destination resilience as well as crisis communication and management. This type of research has arisen from the increased frequency and intensity of threats to the tourism industry; whether terrorism, natural disasters, or even health and wellness (diseases).   But what is Destination Resilience?      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Dr. Pennington-Gray defines destination resilience as the “ability to recovery quickly and efficiently from a variety of crises” (Cahyanto & Pennington-Gray, 2017). In other words, how resilient a destination is can be somewhat measured by how fast a destination or community can bounce back after a shock to the system.  Each academic perspective has a different approach to measuring resilience so the transition to a destination specific framework is still in its infancy.  Dr. Pennington-Gray’s research is housed within the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (TCMI) where she works alongside a group of her own PhD students as well as other faculty members and professors from around the globe. This group has a number of internationally recognized models and articles for tourism crisis communication as well as tourism crisis management. Dr. Pennington-Gray says, “I want to make a difference in the industry, and I want to research things that the industry can use to manage and recover more effectively as well as create an industry which is safer for travelers such as myself.”  One of the more recent developments has been the importance of social media in crisis communication. In one article, co-written by Dr. Pennington-Gray and one of our PhD student’s Danielle Barbe titled “Destinations’ Response to Terrorism on Twitter.” They looked into communication and marketing strategies during times of crisis for Destination Marketing Organization’s (DMO’s), and what is the most efficient method for getting out high sensitivity material to the audience/inhabitants of a certain community without causing panic [P1]  . In their findings, they found that DMO’s do not accurately monitor and update their social media platforms in this case, twitter effectively and accurately enough to warn the community of potential threats. There is much that needs to be done in the realm of crisis communication, destinations aren’t educated on the proper techniques on how to respond and inform the public through a viable means.

DR. LORI PENNINGTON-GRAY TALKS DESTINATION RESILIENCE - SETTING THE PRECEDENT

Over the past year, Professor Lori Pennington-Gray has published a number of articles in the realm of destination resilience as well as crisis communication and management. This type of research has arisen from the increased frequency and intensity of threats to the tourism industry; whether terrorism, natural disasters, or even health and wellness (diseases).

       UF Warrington College of Business “Big Idea” Competition takes on a TRSM PhD Student!   January 23, 2019     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     One of our PhD students, Pamela Montero-Alvarez has been selected to take part in a semester long business development program with the UF Warrington College of Business. This program was created to assist students with entrepreneurial ideas by teaching those selected to partake how to properly build a business plan and what steps they need to take for the future.   Pamela is a current PhD student for the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management where her research is concentrated in Tropical Conservation and Development. As a “biologist at heart” with a bachelor’s degree of Biological Science at the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP); she also holds a Diploma on High Amazonian Studies from The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). Because of her diverse background as a scientist, she wanted to find a way to fine tune her skills more towards business to gain a deeper understanding of where her research will go and how she can prepare her own business plans for her own projects in the near future.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Pamela currently serves as the external adviser of  “La Minga” , a communal association working on rural tourism in the Tamshiyacu – Tahuayo Communal Regional Conservation Area, Loreto-Peru. For her dissertation research Pamela will investigate Community Rural Tourism as a tool for sustainable development and conservation of biological diversity. Because of this, she wanted to use the research her and her team are collecting in Peru and apply it to be able to make a business plan in order to begin the growth for her idea. Though she is still in the first steps of the competition, Pamela is eager and excited to see how she fairs in the end.  The final competition awards the top four business plans will then compete for a chance to win up to $25,000 which is supposed to go back and start the first steps of the business. EFTI is very excited to see the kinds of work our students are working on as well as the great successes and achievements they make.  The idea posted for the UF Big Idea Competition is based on the current implementation of the Project: " Developing Communal Monitoring Strategies through Community-Based Tourism in the Peruvian Amazon ".  The project has the dual objective of enhancing community’s role in monitoring wildlife while developing a community-based tourist product. This was achieved by a “Training Session for Monitoring Wildlife using Camera Traps", and by conducting a “Participatory Workshop to Develop a Communal Monitoring Tourism Product”, and currently conducting patrolling and camera trap recordings.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     The goal is to use the tools and strategies from the Seminar of UF Big Idea Competition to give this project the business approach it needs to be sustainable.

UF Warrington College of Business “Big Idea” Competition takes on a TRSM PhD Student!

One of our PhD students, Pamela Montero-Alvarez has been selected to take part in a semester long business development program with the UF Warrington College of Business. This program was created to assist students with entrepreneurial ideas by teaching those selected to partake how to properly build a business plan and what steps they need to take for the future.

       GIRLFRIEND GETAWAYS & THE FUTURE OF THE SOLO WOMAN TRAVELER- visit Tampa Bay Marketing summit   December 14, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Here at EFTI, we are working with the state of Florida in a number of different ways to push tourism and development progress. One of our EFTI Faculty Members,  Dr. Heather Gibson  spoke at Visit Tampa Bay’s 4th Annual Marketing Summit on behalf of the institute and gave a presentation on “Girlfriend Getaways” and really hammered on the importance. Dr. Gibson then gave the group some ideas on how to market to the niche segment.  A “Girlfriend Getaway” is defined as an, “all female leisure-travel consisting of female friends, relatives, colleagues, members of sport teams, or other female acquaintances” according to Dr. Gibson. This niche market of the industry that seemed to draw a lot of discussion once the presentation was finished, but Dr. Gibson stressed the importance of the woman traveler in the future as we can see a gradual shift into solo travel, especially among women. But what many debate is whether or not an individual, in this case women travelers are safe when traveling internationally alone. To strip the presentation down to its core, Dr. Gibson was talking about her discoveries through her research and her ideas on what the next steps are toward application of marketing for these specialized groups.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     At the end of it all, this means that there is still a growing popularity for these “Girlfriend Getaways” and they are becoming more and more present across the industry. Gibson explains that there is a generational gap between the two groups because different opportunities were available for each generation. But this part of the market has become a major asset to the overall growth and development of tourism as a whole because it is an untouched piece of the market. The discussion ultimately ended with a further explanation of the importance of “Girlfriend Getaways” and their part in the overall economic development of the state of Florida.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Dr. Heather Gibson discussing marketing strategy of “Girlfriend Getaways” and their role in the tourism industry within the Tampa Bay Area.

GIRLFRIEND GETAWAYS AND THE FUTURE OF THE SOLO WOMAN TRAVELER

Here at EFTI, we are working with the state of Florida in a number of different ways to push tourism and development progress. One of our EFTI Faculty Members, Dr. Heather Gibson spoke at Visit Tampa Bay’s 4th Annual Marketing Summit on behalf of the institute and gave a presentation on “Girlfriend Getaways” and really hammered on the importance. Dr. Gibson then gave the group some ideas on how to market to the niche segment.

       EFTI STUDENTS RECOGNIZED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR ACHIEVEMENT!   December 5, 2018  EFTI is very happy to announce that two of our PhD candidates,  Hongping Zhang  and  Yuhua Xu  were recognized within the University of Florida International Center (UFIC) with a Certification of Outstanding Merit. Both Hongping and Yuhua were recognized for their work for the College of Health an Human Performance, specifically within the department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Background:    Hongping Zhang  is a Doctoral student in the department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism where she holds various positions ranging from a study abroad assistant and researcher for the  TRSM UF Down Under Program  to a Teaching Assistant within the department where she teaches undergraduate courses in tourism and hospitality. Zhang’s current research interest is Educational Tourism which is fueled from her involvement of the study abroad programs as well as teaching courses while on campus. After asking what motivates her throughout her research process, she responded with:  “I love this department - being able to do what I enjoy and getting paid for it is all you can truly ask for. The Faculty and Staff are my biggest supporters as they provide me the tools and real-world experience so I can put what I have learned to the test. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had through this group and I am happy to represent EFTI and  RPT!”      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      (Melody) Yuhua Xu  is a third year PhD student and research assistant for the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sports Management with research interests in Destination Resilience and Tourism Marketing. Her research is seeking responsive solutions for destinations and communities in face of various disturbance and changes. Last year one of Xu’s empirical studies won “Best Graduate Research Award” from the Travel and Tourism Research Association which helped narrow down her research interests to the empirical world. Aside from her work, Xu also assists in the settlement of incoming international visiting scholars to the RPT/TRSM department. As for her motivations, she said:   “Initially driven by curiosity, I came to academia. I am always willing to explore cutting edge problems in tourism, and provide global travelers with safer and reliable destinations.”   Awards:   The award ceremony was hosted by the University of Florida International Center where the dean of the program handed out the certification of Outstanding Merit. This nomination process is quite extensive but was a surprise to the students once finally being congratulated and acknowledged. The UFIC says,   “One of the highest priority goals for UF is to expand its international outlook and impact in education, research and service.  UF’s leadership has placed a special emphasis on internationalization because it is a direct outgrowth of UF’s mission and reflects the importance of globalization in the world today.  Our international students are a key element as we pursue these goals.  While international students adjust to a different language, educational system and cultural environment, they also share with the UF community their language, educational system and culture“ (pulled from  http://bit.ly/UFIC1819 ).  EFTI is very excited to have some of our students recognized for their diligence and work for the department, community, as well as the state of Florida.    #GoGators

EFTI STUDENTS RECOGNIZED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR ACHIEVEMENT!

EFTI is very happy to announce that two of our PhD candidates, Hongping Zhang and Yuhua Xu were recognized within the University of Florida International Center (UFIC) with a Certification of Outstanding Merit. Both Hongping and Yuhua we’re recognized for their work for the College of Health an Human Performance, specifically within the department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism.

       SUMMER 2018, ADVENTURES IN THE TROPICS, GATOREYE DRONE LIDAR - DR. ANGELICA ALMEYDA ZAMBRANO   November 30, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Dr. Angelica Almeyda Zambrano  is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management where she co-directs the  Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab . Dr. Almeyda Zambrano and her collaborator, and husband, Dr. Eben Broadbent along with their two field assistants (pictured to the side) did extensive field research across a variety of ecosystems during the summer. Locations included the Atlantic forest in Brazil, cloud forests in the Andes, the lowland Amazon, and Northern dry forests in Peru, tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, and ancient Mayan archaeological sites in Chiapas, Mexico.   Drs. Almeyda Zambrano (applications and flight ops) and Broadbent (pilot and flight ops) - flew   the GatorEye Unmanned Flying Laboratory (GE-UFL), a new custom-built sensor suite which includes LiDAR, Hyperspectral, and visual sensors, on a hexacopter drone platform. The data collected allows for high resolution 3D models of vegetation, buildings, and terrain. Analysis of this data is providing new insights into vegetation architecture across different forest types, forest ages, reforestation approaches, and land uses. Results have important implications for better understanding carbon sequestration, and for habitat preference and availability for fauna under climate change, as well as advancing fundamental understandings of Mayan agriculture and land use. For example, while in Peru, in collaboration with  Dr. Bette Loiselle , Professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, and her student Diego Garcia, they collaborated on research working to understand how bird diversity relates to forest structure, composition, and bioclimatic variables along an elevational gradient wthin a natural protected area. Dr. Almeyda Zambrano also returned to her alma mater in Peru, the Universidad Nacional La Agraria La Molina, where they lead a workshop on use of advanced drone sensor technology for environmental monitoring and sustainability.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Dr. Almeyda Zambrano’s research focuses on sustainable tourism and socio-economic aspects of human-environment interactions. The data gathered for the projects above will enable her to be better positioned for upcoming grants and studies further understanding sustainability in new high-resolution 3D landscapes, expanding from her ongoing work linking humans to landscapes using satellite imagery. As for the future related to the GatorEye, Drs. Almeyda Zambrano and Broadbent are using the rapidly expanding datasets to better understand our worlds biomass and species diversity. This application will help us gain a peak into the future of our planet, while also helping us learn what we can do to increase the sustainability and well-being of society and the natural environment on which it depends.

SUMMER 2018, ADVENTURES IN THE TROPICS, GATOREYE DRONE LIDAR - DR. ANGELICA ALMEYDA ZAMBRANO

Dr. Angelica Almeyda-Zambrano, Assistant Professor in the Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management department and her husband Dr. Eben Broadbent along with their two field assistants (pictured to the side) this past summer did some extensive research across a variety of ecosystems: ranging from the Amazon in Peru, tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, and ancient Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico while utilizing new drone technology and the Light Detection and Ranging sensing method (LIDAR) for land surveying and 3D modeling and mapping of the various terrains.

       BENEFITS OF ECOTOURISM FROM PROFESSOR EMERITUS, DR. STEPHEN HOLLAND   November 26, 2018   Professor Emeritus Stephen Holland  was invited to do a presentation  on the 'Benefits of Ecotourism' at the Citrus County (Florida) forum on Economic Development hosted by the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, November 15, 2018. His talk generated a discussion about the need to create a training program for local hospitality front-line workers (e.g., waitresses, hotel front-desk clerks) to educate them about local nature-based attractions to be able to encourage tourists to enjoy the local parks and waterways. Also noted was the importance of natural areas and parks in sustaining perceptions of a high quality of life in the region as a factor in attracting new companies and workers, as well as tourists.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Front-line hospitality workers that are well-versed in an area’s attractions and culture are incredibly important for the overall identification and branding of a location. In this case, Dr. Holland touched on the importance of preserving and showcasing our Florida Ecosystems. Showcasing the natural beauty while attracting business and economic enhancements to the area is a strategy currently being implemented throughout Citrus County.  Our EFTI Faculty, Staff, and Students are all over the globe working to preserve, protect, and showcase the beautiful ecosystems.

BENEFITS OF ECOTOURISM FROM PROFESSOR EMERITUS, DR. STEPHEN HOLLAND

Professor Emeritus Stephen Holland was invited to do a presentation  on the 'Benefits of Ecotourism' at the Citrus County, Florida forum on Economic Development hosted by the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, November 15, 2018. His talk generated a discussion about the need to create a training program for local hospitality front-line workers (e.g., waitresses, hotel front-desk clerks) ​to educate them about local nature-based attractions to able to ​encourage tourists to enjoy the local parks and waterways. Also, the importance of natural areas and parks to sustain perceptions of high quality of life in the region as a factor in attracting new companies and workers to the area was noted.

       DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS DIGITAL - WHAT’S NEXT?   November 16, 2018  With 20 years’ experience at Disney, Gary Daniels (Vice President of Digital Experience) leads teams that create end-to-end, digital-plus-physical experiences for Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products globally. Gary also serves as a member of the Walt Disney World Resort steering committee, leading digital efforts across Marketing, Sales, and Guest Experience. In this seminar, Gary discussed recent trends and how Disney Parks & Resorts is evaluating their strategy for the future.  Daniels’ presentation gave our EFTI Faculty and Students a peak into the behind-the-scenes work done by Gary and his Disney Parks & Resorts Digital team. With the ever-changing scope of technology, communication, and customer experience, Disney has long been a trendsetter and industry leader.  In addition to discussing Disney’s implementation of the digital world, Gary shines light on trends in the industry such as:     Data Analysis : A structural transformation in managing business and providing personalized guest service.     Smart Technology : The ability of computer programs to provide services and information to consumers through technology such as voice-controlled personal assistants.     Augmented & Virtual Reality : Will revolutionize industries and enterprises increasing productivity, efficiency, and safety expanding beyond visual immersion to include all human senses.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     One of the largest projects Gary had the opportunity to work on is the Disney “MagicBand,” a wearable all-in-one device that enables guests to quickly and effortlessly access their hotel room, enter the theme parks, make payments and more during their visit to Walt Disney World Resort. This project has grown immensely and is one of the most effective ways Disney simplifies and enables easy access to its experiences.  Being able to leverage technology for a range of purposes is what Gary and his team are trying to achieve every day. For years, Disney has provided its guests with a seamless and familiar experience, and emerging technologies will continue to make a big mark on the Disney brand – making the vacation experience easier and more enjoyable!

DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS DIGITAL - WHAT’S NEXT?

With 20 years’ experience at Disney, Gary Daniels (Vice President of Digital Experience) leads teams that create end-to-end, digital-plus-physical experiences for Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products globally. Gary also serves as a member of the Walt Disney World Resort steering committee, leading digital efforts across Marketing, Sales, and Guest Experience. In this seminar, Gary discussed recent trends and how Disney Parks & Resorts is evaluating their strategy for the future.

       TRSM STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS - SUMMER 2019   October 31, 2018  This upcoming summer, undergraduate students in the TRSM program degrees and specializations will have the option to study abroad in  Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.  Through coursework and site visits, students will become more familiar about global issues affecting the Mediterranean Hospitality, Tourism, Event and Sport Industry, and the Campania region in particular.     For more information, reach out to  Dr. Greg Dunn !     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     TRSM also offers three other programs during the summer semester. Students have the opportunity to study in destinations such as  Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand  where the focus is on the sustainable environment and ecotourism.   For more information about these programs, please reach out to  Dr. Heather Gibson  or check out the website  HERE !!!

UF IN SORRENTO - STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM COMING SUMMER ‘19

This upcoming summer, Undergraduate students in the TRSM program degrees and specializations will have the option to study abroad in Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Through coursework and site visits, students will become more familiar about global issues affecting the Mediterranean in general and the Campanian region in particular.

       FOOD WASTE AND YOU - TOURISM’S IMPACT ON THE DEVELOPING WORLD   October 26th, 2018  On Friday, October 26th, Dr. Jamie Murphy Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow for the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Western Australia. Dr. Murphy has been focusing his research in the past couple of years on the importance of sustainable practices in the Tourism industry, doing research across the globe and learning what techniques are working and which techniques are falling short.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Dr. Murphy has given invited/keynote presentations on six continents and taught tourism/hospitality at Essec, Florida State University and the Lausanne Hotel School and taught marketing at the University of Western Australia. Prof Murphy’s diverse industry background includes European Marketing Manager for PowerBar and Greg Lemond Bicycles, Lead Academic for the Google Online Marketing Challenge, dozens of New York Times and Wall Street Journal stories, restaurateur and F&B manager in Yellowstone National Park.   In his presentation, “The Quest to Research and Reduce Food Waste in Events, Hospitality, and Tourism” we brought up the topics many don’t think about when planning events or booking a stay in a different destination. Food Waste has become one of the most prominent issues across the globe as our facilities are not capable of processing, sorting, and reusing of this disposed material. Through the use of various recycling efforts, composting, and public policy, slow changes will come to the sustainability part of the Tourism industry, but we each need to do our part!     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     This brown bag seminar reviews Professor Murphy's sustainability passion, food waste in hospitality, events and tourism. The United Nations’ 12th of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, responsible consumption and production, has led the UN, the United States and Australia, among others, to target halving their food waste--about $2.6 trillion a year globally in economic, social and environmental costs--by 2030. Hospitality, events and tourism have a major role in reaching these ambitious goals, particularly as the United Nations designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Personally and professionally, discover how industry and academia can tackle four food waste priority areas for a better future--policy support, business improvements, market development and behavior change--to research and reduce food waste in events, hospitality and tourism.

FOOD WASTE AND YOU - TOURISM’S IMPACT ON THE DEVELOPING WORLD

On Friday, October 26th, Dr. Jamie Murphy Adjunct Professor and Research Fellow for the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Western Australia. Dr. Murphy has been focusing his research in the past couple of years on the importance of sustainable practices in the Tourism industry, doing research across the globe and learning what techniques are working and which techniques are falling short.

       FROM GATOR GROWL TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER, UF ALUM ALICE NORSWORTHY CONNECTS AUDIENCES WITH MAGICAL EXPERIENCES   October 25, 2018  Alice Norsworthy, the chair for the EFTI Advisory Board and Chief Marketing Officer for Universal Parks and Resorts was featured in a University of Florida Foundation article which showed how our Gators “Go Greater.” With over 10 years with Universal Parks and Resorts, Norsworthy is an innovator in the tourism industry and is constantly putting together some of the most comprehensive and detailed marketing strategies of this era.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     “With a flick of the wand and those bewitching words, young wizards at Hogwarts School make objects fly in the air. But if you thought the levitating magic of Harry Potter only happened in books and movies, think again.  Since Universal Orlando launched the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010, attendance at its twin theme parks has soared to record-breaking heights.  And leading the marketing wizards who entice all those visitors is creative powerhouse Alice Norsworthy (BFA Art ’81).  As executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Universal Parks & Resorts, this proud Gator alum wins accolades for her team-centered leadership style and her uncanny ability to tap into the dreams and desires of potential guests.  “The strength and beauty of Alice’s leadership is her ability to figure out the essence of what makes J.K Rowling’s universe so compelling and to translate that, in marketing campaigns, so people respond, “I have to be part of that!’” says Bill Davis, president and chief operating officer of Universal Orlando.  Davis also commends Norsworthy for creating strong emotional connections between audiences and the resort’s other offerings.  “Her skill at communicating all our experiences here at Universal Orlando, from our attractions to restaurants, is phenomenal,” says Davis. “She is the marketer who’s been key to our success” (Retrieved from  http://bit.ly/UFAdvancement  - Barbara Drake)

FROM GATOR GROWL TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER, UF ALUM ALICE NORSWORTHY CONNECTS AUDIENCES WITH MAGICAL EXPERIENCES

Alice Norsworthy, the chair for the EFTI Advisory Board and Chief Marketing Officer for Universal Parks and Resorts was featured in a University of Florida Foundation article which showed how our Gators “Go Greater.” With over 10 years with Universal Parks and Resorts, Norsworthy is an innovator in the tourism industry and is constantly putting together some of the most comprehensive and detailed marketing strategies of this era.

       WHY TO CONSIDER TRAVELING SOLO - AND HOW TO GET STARTED   October 22, 2018  One of our very own TRSM faculty -  Dr. Heather Gibson  was featured in the UF News Update on October 22, 2018. Dr. Gibson in the Fall 2017 semester took part as an adviser for the Semester at Sea program where she lead students on a 100 day cruise around the world visiting 10 countries and 4 continents. This program helped lead to her research on the individual traveler as well as her research on the individual woman traveler.  “Embracing the unknowns of solo travel, however, can have long-lasting benefits for women, Gibson says. She should know: A sociologist in UF’s College of Health and Human Performance, Gibson pioneered the study of women travelers and authored a seminal paper about solo travel in 1998. Many of the challenges women faced twenty years ago — from safety concerns to the objections of family and friends — still remain.”  “I see a lot of the same issues today,” she said. “I’ll ask my students how many will travel by themselves, and only a few will.”  She encourages women to do their planning, reassure their loved ones, and venture out” (Retrieved from http://news.ufl.edu/articles/2018/10/why-to-consider-traveling-solo--and-how-to-get-started.php - Allisson Clark).  Dr. Gibson has put together some tips and tricks to planning your next solo adventure abroad, click  HERE  for the full article!

WHY TO CONSIDER TRAVELING SOLO - AND HOW TO GET STARTED

One of our very own TRSM faculty - Dr. Heather Gibson was featured in the UF News Update on October 22, 2018. Dr. Gibson in the Fall 2017 semester took part as an adviser for the Semester at Sea program where she lead students on a 100 day cruise around the world visiting 10 countries and 4 continents. This program helped lead to her research on the individual traveler as well as her research on the individual woman traveler.

       EFTI’s “Insights” Seminar Series – Fuad Mehraliyev on Expert Power of Social Media Platforms   October 12th, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Fuad Mehraliyev is a visiting scholar from Azerbaijan, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Social Cultural Service from Baku State University in 2008. After his graduation from Umeå University in 2012, he returned to his home country and worked as a Lecturer for four years at Western University. In August 2016, Fuad was granted a fellowship from Hong Kong Research Grants Council for his PhD study at the School of Hotel & Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and is expected to graduate in August 2019. His research interests are information communication technologies, social media power, and experimental design in tourism studies.  In his presentation titled, ‘Expert Power of Social Media Platforms: Examining the Effects of Experience and Specialization’ Fuad explained his research using social power theory to examine psychological effects of experience and specialization on tourists’ perceptions towards platform’s expertise and task-fit.   Some of the key takeaways of the discussion establish that both experience and specialization work as attributes of the platform’s expert power and lead to perceived expertise. Interaction effect between the two attributes suggests that new platforms should consider specialization strategies, whereas experienced platforms can benefit from diversification.

EFTI’S “INSIGHTS” SEMINAR SERIES – FUAD MEHRALIYEV ON EXPERT POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

Fuad Mehraliyev is a visiting scholar from Azerbaijan, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Social Cultural Service from Baku State University in 2008. After his graduation from Umeå University in 2012, he returned to his home country and worked as a Lecturer for four years at Western University. His research interests are information communication technologies, social media power, and experimental design in tourism studies.

       THOMAS HILL DISCUSSES TOURISM DATA MODELS - THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION   October 5th, 2018     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Thomas Hill, State Modeling Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) spoke on Friday, October 5th to EFTI Faculty, Staff, and students about the importance of Tourism and Travel in Florida. Hill holds both his Undergraduate and Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Florida State University, and is currently working on updating the Florida Statewide Passenger and Freight Model which is in charge of monitoring the planning of freight routes and processes across the state of Florida.  After discussing the Freight Model, Hill then delved a bit deeper, explaining that Hotels, Amusement Parks, Restaurants or even Bars are a major piece to Florida’s transportation routes. Hill then described that I-75, I-95, and I-4 are crucial to Florida’s economic development for these reasons. A lot of ideas and questions were brought up about the future for FDOT, and after hearing from Doctoral Student, Danielle Barbe she mentioned,   “As my research focuses on crisis communication, I thought the hurricane evacuation information was very interesting and important. Especially mentioning that they [FDOT] are developing an app that will allow them to not only communicate to those evacuating but also help them track the times that people evacuate, routes they take, etc.”  Communication is key to the overall success of any of the processes at the Florida Department of Transportation. Hill took us into an explanation of the accuracy and reality of social media – in other words, FDOT has decided that social media is not proper for measuring and forecasting travel outcomes in the state of Florida.  During the Q & A, EFTI Faculty, Staff, and Students asked Hill a variety of questions. One of the questions addressed the future of Florida’s Transportation system, mentioning the developments of Brightline rails, and though no steps have been made in this direction just yet, there seems to be a shift toward the shared economy (e.g., Uber, Lyft) and there is no telling what is to come next.

Thomas Hill discusses Tourism Data Models –The Florida Department of Transportation

Thomas Hill, State Modeling Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) spoke on Friday, October 5th to EFTI Faculty, Staff, and students about the importance of Tourism and Travel in Florida. Hill holds both his Undergraduate and Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Florida State University, and is currently working on updating the Florida Statewide Passenger and Freight Model which is in charge of monitoring the planning of freight routes and processes across the state of Florida.