Dr Heather Gibson is a Professor in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida and an Associate Director of the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute.
People often ask “does Heather specialize in tourism, sport or leisure”? The answer is all three. She graduated from Brighton Polytechnic in the UK with a Bachelor’s in physical education and a specialization in sport sociology.
This focus on the sociology of sport and leisure led her to the University of Connecticut where she earned her Master’s and PhD. and was introduced to tourism as a field of study. Currently, Dr. Gibson teaches classes in leisure and tourism theory, issues and trends in RPT, and sport tourism.
She also leads study abroad programs to Australia and Fiji with an interdisciplinary focus on sustainability. She was selected as a Fellow of the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars at the University of Florida in 2013.
Her research interests include leisure and tourism in later life; leisure and tourism as experienced by women, sport tourism with a particular focus on active sport-travel and small-scale events; and perceived risk in travel. She was also a W. James Whyte Research Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia in 2015 and 2017.
Dr Gibson has published over 70 peer reviewed articles across journals in leisure, tourism and sport. She edited the book Sport Tourism: Concepts and Theories and Co-edited with Jerome Singleton Leisure and Aging: Theory and Practice.
Currently, she is a Managing Editor for Leisure Studies, an editorial board member for the Journal of Sport Management, the Journal of Sport & Tourism, and World Leisure Journal.
Dr Gibson also served as a SPRE Board Member 2005-2008 and Co-Chair of the Leisure Research Symposium 2008-2010, and has been a member of the TALS Fellows Committee since 2015, which she chaired 2016-2017.
Expertise: Gender and (leisure); aging or later life (leisure); women and tourism; sport tourism; perceived risk and tourism; small-scale sport events; wellbeing