Seminar Series

The Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute is proud to host academic and industry leaders, who provide their insights on major trends impacting the tourism industry. Below are just a few of the speakers and discussions from the 2018-2019 academic year.


Justin gressel, phd

Test & Learn Lead, Universal Orlando Resorts
Data and Analytics Analysis: An Industry Perspective
April 19, 2019 (Pictures)

On Friday, April 19th the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute hosted its final Seminar Series for the Spring semester, and concluded the year with Justin Gressel, PhD, Channel Analytics Manger for Universal Orlando Resorts. The conversations began with more insight into Universal Orlando Resort’s use of data in management decision making.


Angelica Almeyda-Zambrano, PhD & Eben Broadbent, PhD

Assistant Professors, University of Florida
GatorEye and Drone LIDAR Analysis
March 29th, 2019 (Pictures)

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 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.


Yang Yang, PhD

Assistant Professor, Temple University
Tourist Behavior Analysis using Online Review Data
March 15th, 2019 (Pictures)

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.


Brian Mills, phd

Assistant Professor, University of Florida
Tourist Tax Elasticity in Florida: Spatial Effects of County-Level Room Tax Rate Variation
Febraury 15th, 2019 (Pictures)

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.


Gary Daniels

VP, Digital Experience, Disney Parks & Resorts Digital
“What’s Next?” Trends and Potential Research Topics
November 16, 2018 (Pictures)

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.


Jamie Murphy, phD

Adjunct Professor & Research Fellow, University of Eastern Finland/University of Western Australia
The Quest to Research & Reduce Food Waste in Events, Hospitality, and Tourism
October 26, 2018 (Pictures)

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.


Fuad Mehraliyev

Visiting Scholar, University of Florida
Expert Power of Social Media Platforms
October 12, 2018 (Pictures)

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.


Thomas Hill

State Modeling Manager, Florida Department of Transportation
Tourist Season: Data, Models and Travel Demand
October 5, 2018 (Pictures)

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.