Heather Gibson, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management       Associate Director, Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute                             International Education Coordinator

Ph.D. in Sport, Leisure and Exercise Science, University of Connecticut (1994)
M.A. in Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Connecticut (1989)
B.Ed. in Physical Education, Brighton Polytechnic (1985)

Curriculum Vitae

Office: FLG 304
Address: P.O. Box 118208, Gainesville, FL 32611-8208
Contact: (352) 294-1649
Email: hgibson@hhp.ufl.edu


Heather J. Gibson, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management at the University of Florida.  She graduated from Brighton Polytechnic in the UK with a Bachelor’s in physical education and a specialization in sport sociology. At the University of Connecticut she earned her Master’s and PhD. in sport and leisure studies and was introduced to tourism as a field of study.

Dr. Gibson teaches classes in leisure and tourism theory, sport tourism, and research methods.  Her research interests include leisure in the lives of older women, solo women travelers, tourism in mid and later life, and physical activity in later life. In her recent work she has brought together two themes in her work later life sport participation and tourism associated with sport in the form of active sport tourism.  She edited the book Sport Tourism: Concepts and Theories, a collection of original essays on this type of tourism.

Currently, Heather is an Associate Editor for Leisure Sciences and an Editorial Board member for the Journal of Sport Management, the Journal of Sport and Tourism, and the World Leisure Journal. She is ad hoc reviewer for countless journals including the Journal of Leisure Research, the Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, and Leisure Studies. Dr. Gibson is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Leisure Research Symposium held in conjunction with the annual National Recreation and Parks Association Congress.

Research Interests

  • Active sport tourism participation in mid and later life – senior games and Bike Florida
  • The effects of event sport tourism on the community
  • The leisure, health and well being in later- life women.
  • Resistance and empowerment of women through solo travel.
  • Tourist roles (behavior) during the lifespan with a focus on gender, motivation, risk and thrill seeking.


  • LEI 3830 Principles of Travel and Tourism
  • LEI 4880 Evaluation in Leisure Services
  • LEI 5188 Trends in Leisure Studies
  • LEI 6838 Sport Tourism
  • LEI 6895 Tourism Concepts and Theories
  • LEI 7163 Foundations of Leisure Behavior