DOCTORAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Larissa Neuburger And her innovations within e-tourism (Augmented/Virtual reality)

March 29, 2019


EFTI is always looking ahead to our future innovators, decision makers, and researchers in tourism. One of our many incredible students, Larissa Neuburger is 2nd Year PhD student in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management at the University of Florida. Larissa is originally from Salzburg, Austria - home of the famous musical drama film “The Sound of Music. Before finally coming to the United States and UF to begin her PhD, Larissa worked as a Marketing Manager for a publishing house in Vienna, Austria where she managed all marketing activities for their B2B events.

Together with her advisor Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray, Larissa’s research is currently focused in the realm of Smart Tourism where she is working on a project to develop self assessment tool for destinations in order to evaluate their ‘Smart Performance’ that can enhance tourism experience. Our researchers are working to set industry standards and to identify the areas of growth for tourism and its consumers so its an all around better experience.

Before coming to the University of Florida, Larissa studied both undergrad and two graduate programs at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg where she earned a B.A. in Innovation & Management in Tourism, M.A. in Business Administration, Management and Operations, as well as a M.A. in Innovation and Management in Tourism. During her time with University of Applied Sciences Salzburg is when her true love for e-tourism began as her professors really pushed her into researching topics within technology and tourism.


One of Larissa’s many projects, as linked below was “An Augmented Reality (AR) application for a museum in Salzburg, as part of an experiment to examine how to enhance the touris experience of museum visitors. The objective was to gauge the value of AR and whether or not it made a significant difference towards the museum experience.” Larissa was behind the design, programming, and execution of the application and its testing within the museum - this paired with Masters Degrees at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg sparked her quest for e-tourism, and is what brought Larissa to the University of Florida.

As of right now, Larissa is hard at work on numerous projects surrounding the Augmented and Virtual Reality spaces and is exploring how the use of AR/VR can influence the perception of tourism space and the decision making process along the tourism customer journey (e.g. choosing a destination). With the help of EFTI’s AR/VR lab, Larissa has been working on new projects with the University of Helsinki and the VR project ‘Virtual Helsinki’ to examine how tourists perceive a virtual destination and what role emotional arousal can play. Measuring emotional arousal with physiological measures (e.g. Skin Conductance, Eye Tracking, Facial Expressions) will be part of her future research.

Aside from all of her work, Larissa is an avid traveler and has visited over 27 countries across the globe and won’t be stopping there. One of her favorite memories was a 2 week Indian trek she went on with a friend where she toured seven of the major cities in India - and might have crashed a wedding in the process. EFTI is so grateful to have amazing students like Larissa and we are pushing her to be her best everyday!

#UF #GoGators #IamTRSM