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Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management

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About the Tourism Initiatives

Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute

Tourism is one of the world’s most important and fastest growing industries. Twice as much was spent for airline flights, cruises, hotels, restaurants and the like in the past decade than ever before. If people continue traveling at their current rate, global arrivals will exceed 1.6 billion by 2020. Tourism generates more than $6 trillion annually worldwide and supports one in 12 jobs. Seven million of those jobs are in the United States. In Florida — with its abundance of natural and manmade attractions — tourism is crucial. More than 82.3 million people from within the U.S. and throughout the world visit the state each year. Those tourists help provide approximately 1 million workers with jobs and create $65 billion in tourism/recreation taxable sales, making tourism Florida’s No. 1 industry. Businesses that depend on tourism range from hotels, attractions and restaurants to car rentals, travel agents and tour operators.

The University of Florida’s Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute (EFTI) is committed to facilitating and fostering the growth of tourism. The Institute is redefining how companies, governments and communities look at travel and tourism. We believe it’s prudent to plan, develop and manage tourism — not just because it’s smart for our economy, but to address potential environmental and socio-cultural concerns. With more people traveling, it’s become a challenge for some communities to maintain a vibrant tourism-based economy while protecting the natural environment and their traditional way of life.

In order to meet that challenge, EFTI (formerly known as the Center for Tourism Research and Development) was created in 1992 to serve tourism destinations and industries through research, consultancy, education and training services. Since then, it has evolved to become a major center for tourism research in Florida, the United States and globally. EFTI is at the forefront to address the challenges facing all of us, both today and tomorrow. The Institute — which taps into experts from a wide range of disciplines — is world-renowned for its fresh, academic and applied approach to the field. Dedicated to research excellence and with a passion for knowledge, the EFTI team works to solve tourism-related issues within six program areas:

1) Tourism Marketing
2) Sport Tourism and Event Management
3) Ecotourism and Heritage Tourism
4) Coastal, Marine and Water-Based Tourism
5) Tourism Crisis Management
6) Hospitality Management

We are also thankful for the recent major naming rights gift made by the Eric Friedheim Foundation of Jacksonville, FL. This gift has allowed us to further advance our work as we move forward with a new name: Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute (EFTI). The Institute has been established in honor of Eric Friedheim, lifelong journalist and owner, publisher and editor-in-chief of the weekly Travel Agent Magazine.

Please explore our website to learn more:, and do contact us for any assistance needed for research, consultancy, education and training services.

Tourism Crisis Management Initiative

The Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (TCMI) was established in 2007 to assist the industry with comprehensive tourism crisis management initiatives through research, consultancy, education and training services. TCMI is housed within the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute and is affiliated with other allied academic disciplines.

Tourism organizations need to be ready to assist employees and tourists visiting their destinations. An assessment of crisis management planning will enable tourism organizations and destinations to be prepared when challenged with catastrophic events. TCMI will work with clients from the travel industry to evaluate, train, and assist in tourism crisis reduction, readiness, response, and recovery. We will help you plan for extraordinary events that might disrupt normal business operations.


  • Customization and development of comprehensive tourism crisis management plans
  • Customization and development of unique visitor assistance programs
  • Customization and development of tourism area response network programs
  • Simulation training for the tourism industry
  • Customization of crisis management social media programs


  • Crisis preparedness of industry sectors
  • Crisis communications
  • Crisis reduction, readiness, response, and recovery
  • Visitor attitudes and behaviors associated with tourism crises
  • Attitudes of visitors in need (in situ)
  • Use of new technology (user generated content, social media)


  • Online continuing education program in tourism crisis management
  • Specialized workshops on best practices of tourism crisis management
  • Annual International Tourism Crisis Management Leadership Workshop




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