Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D.

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

  • Ph.D. in Park, Recreation and Tourism Resources, Michigan State University (1999)
  • M.S. in Leisure Studies, Pennsylvania State University (1994)
  • B.A. in Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo (1993)

Pennington-Gray CV

Contact Info

FLG 325C
P.O. Box 118208
Gainesville, FL 32611-8208
(352) 294-1657 | penngray@hhp.ufl.edu


Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph. D., began her appointment in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management in 1999. Since then, she has served as a Professor and also as the Director of the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute from 2004-2007. She is currently the Director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative. In addition, she is affiliated with the School of Natural Resources & Environment and the Warrington College of Business. Dr. Pennington-Gray has been involved in numerous research projects in the State of Florida and other areas in the United States. Additionally, she has completed research projects in several countries such as Canada, Mexico, Korea, South Africa, Russia, Peru, and the Caribbean.

Overall, the common theme of her research program is tourism planning and development from both a demand and supply perspective. Her other major research initiative is in the area of tourism crisis management. Her main aim is to provide destinations with research findings, which enable them to make more informed policy choices and to better market their destinations. She operates from a sustainable tourism paradigm where policy is recommended which mitigates the environmental and social impacts to the host destination while improving the economic impact to the host society. She has worked with several stakeholders including non-profits, private sector businesses, public sector businesses and governments, as well as residents.

She has consulted with several destination marketing organizations, designing research to identify front-end positioning and results-oriented evaluation. Some examples of past state-wide projects include: Examining the Contribution of Historic Properties to the Quality of Life for Floridians and Visit Florida – Festivals and Tourism Impacts. Dr. Pennington-Gray has conducted visitor study research for Alachua, Marion, Columbia, Pasco, and Indian River Counties, as well as the coalition of counties marketing under the brand “Original Florida.” Other DMO research has included: St. John’s County Heritage Tourism Study; Alachua County Destination Audit; Marion County Destination Visioning; and Economic Impact for Gainesville Arts Festivals and Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee. In addition, her research has focused on understanding the current state of affairs in various sectors in the industry’s planning and preparedness. Currently, she leads the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative which was established in 2007 within the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute. The aim of the Initiative is to assist the tourism industry in developing comprehensive tourism crisis management initiatives with respect to crisis reduction, readiness, response, and recovery.

Dr. Pennington-Gray is a member of The International Ecotourism Society, Travel and Tourism Research Association, World Travel and Tourism Council, DMAI, AH&LA, and USTA.

Research Interests

  • Tourism Crisis Management
  • Tourism marketing
  • Visitor behaviors and destination marketing organization policy


  • LEI 3140 History and Philosophy
  • LEI 4574 Marketing in Recreation, Parks and Tourism
  • LEI 6108 Contemporary Theories
  • LEI 6573 Tourism Marketing
  • LEI 6931 Tourism Planning & Development
  • LEI 6931 Hospitality marketing (Warrington College of Business)
  • LEI 6931 Hospitality Planning and Development (Warrington College of Business)