Svetlana Stepchenkova, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management

  • Ph.D. in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University
  • M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University
  • B.S. in Applied Mathematics, Moscow State University

Stepchenkova CV

Contact Info

FLG 312
P.O. Box 118208
Gainesville, FL 32611-8208
(352) 294-1652 |


Svetlana Stepchenkova, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management at the University of Florida. Her research interests lie in the area of destination marketing, branding, and positive image building. She studies tourism behavior and the effectiveness of destination promotion efforts in situations of strained bilateral relations between nations. She is also interested in usability of user-generated content for managerial decision-making in destination marketing and promotion.

In 2010-2014, Svetlana coordinated efforts of the UF team within the framework of the international project “Capacity Building Partnership to Improve Tourism Education, Research, and Industry Outreach: University of Florida, USA and the State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Russian Federation.” The project was funded (US$400,000) by the U.S. Department of Education, Funds for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE), with the matching funds provided by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. The activities focused on curriculum development, course delivery, student mobility programs, faculty training programs, seminars to disseminate best practices, and collaborative research initiatives. In 2014-2016, Svetlana led several research projects in collaboration with the State University of Nizhni Novgorod. They focused on decision-making of Russian tourists with respect to visiting the United States in the situation of conflict between the two countries.

Dr. Stepchenkova serves as an Editorial Board member for Journal of Travel Research, International Journal of Tourism Cities, and Tourism Management Perspectives and on the Executive Committee of the International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA).

Research Interests

  • Destination image as a competitive factor in destination management, marketing, and branding
  • Computer-assisted analysis of qualitative data. Methodologies for statistical analysis of textual and pictorial data
  • Effects of media messages and user-generated content on tourism behavior and destination demand
  • Websites and online communities as a marketing tool for Destination Marketing Organizations
  • Cultural issues in tourism research


  • LEI 3836 Hospitality Management
  • HLP 6515 Evaluation Procedures
  • HLP 6535 Research Methods