United States of America

Activity overview: Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute (formerly known as the Center for Tourism Research and Development) was created in 1992 to serve tourism destinations and industries through research in Florida. Since its establishment, EFTI has been committed to excellence, and has evolved to become a major institute for tourism research in Florida and beyond. The Institute facilitates interdisciplinary research projects focusing on a wide range of travel, tourism and hospitality opportunities, and is housed within the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management at the University of Florida.


Specializations, areas and projects: We serve tourism destinations and hospitality industries through research, consultancy, education and training services in Florida, U.S. and globally. Our vast array of expertise provides outstanding intellectual resources to provide strategic services for your destination, organization, and business. The Institute draws on an array of outstanding resources: nationally and internationally recognized faculty and research associates and strong interdisciplinary research partnerships and affiliations. Our research projects are responsive and provide innovative solutions to the needs of destinations and industry partners such as: Profile and Economic Impacts of Visitors; Destination Audits; Advertising Conversion; Hotel Occupancy; Comparison of Event Sport Tourists; Hurricane and Evacuation Decisions of Tourists; Public Beach Access; Waterways Master Plan; Information Needs and Communication Behaviors; and Monitoring and Managing Visitor Use.  We provide assistance and strategic directions on a variety of topics such as: Needs Assessments, Destination Visioning; Development of Marketing Plans; Customer Service Quality and Evaluation; Stakeholder Collaboration; Specialized Data Collection and Research Methods targeted to Specific Objectives; and Emergency Preparedness in Tourism Crisis Management. We facilitate a series of seminars, workshops, and certification programs such as: Tourism Crisis Management; Sport as a Tourism Development Strategy; Ecotourism Development and Management; Research Design and Survey Methodologies; Importance- Performance Priority Goal Setting; Strategic Planning and Management; and Customer Service Management.


Strategic vision: EFTI is recognized as a global leader responsive to the needs of industry partners and the academic process. EFTI uses interdisciplinary research teams engaged in research to solve tourism problems and expand the knowledge base for the industry and the academic world. Through a commitment to research excellence and passion for knowledge, Institute personnel and affiliates lead the nation in transforming intellectual knowledge into useable, sustainable strategies to enhance international, national, state and local tourism organizations, companies, agencies and destinations.


Dr. Craig Schmitt

Dr. Dan Fesenmaier

Ms. Lori Pennington-Gray

Dr. Brigesh Thapa