Brijesh Thapa, Ph.D.

Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management

  • Ph.D. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, Pennsylvania State University (2000)
  • M.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, Pennsylvania State University (1996)
  • B.S. in Business Administration, West Liberty University (1994)

Contact Info

FLG 325B
P.O. Box 118208
Gainesville, FL 32611-8208
(352) 294-1656 |


Brijesh Thapa, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management at UF. He is also the Co-Director of the Tourism Crisis Management Initiative, and an Affiliate Faculty in multiple academic units: School of Natural Resources & Environment, Warrington College of Business, Center for International Business Education and Research, Center for African Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, Water Institute, Transportation Research Center, and the Graduate Program in Sustainable Development Practice.

Overall, his research theme is within the nexus of tourism, conservation and sustainability. In this context, he has explored specific issues and associated linkages from a developed and developing country’s standpoint largely among key stakeholder groups (e.g., visitors, residents, tourism industry, and policy makers). Among developed countries, his research has been based from a U.S. perspective examining specific themes such as, environmentalism, recreation behavior, planning and management issues at various nature-based tourism settings managed by the state and federal government. Among developing countries, his research has focused on the examination of stakeholder perspectives so that effective policies can be implemented – to minimize negative impacts on natural and cultural resources; maximize economic benefits for locals; and optimizes visitor experience in parks and protected areas. Based on this core and associated lines of research inquiry, he has been involved in numerous international projects in various capacities in 28 developing countries. Additionally, Dr. Thapa has been involved in a range of projects at UNESCO World Heritage Sites in numerous countries with respect to tourism, cultural heritage, and natural resources management issues. Overall, his research findings are tools for managers and policy makers to effectively manage visitors, residents, and cultural and natural resources in a sustainable manner.

More recently, Dr. Thapa has been focused on numerous capacity building and institutional development projects through curriculum development, research, and training in tourism, nature and cultural heritage conservation, and natural resources management. Currently, as a PI and CO-PI, Dr. Thapa has been involved in several long-term federally funded projects with totals in excess of $2 million in Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Nepal, and the Southern Africa region (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Tanzania). He has received funding from U.S. Federal Agencies such as: Department of State, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Agency for International Development, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Research Interests

  • People, parks and protected areas management
  • World Heritage Sites and tourism management
  • Tourist behaviors and impacts: socio-cultural, environmental, economic
  • Ecotourism and cultural heritage tourism
  • Environmental attitudes and behaviors
  • Tourism education and capacity development in Developing Countries
  • Tourism, conservation and sustainable development issues in Developing Countries
  • Tourism crisis management


  • LEI 3003 Principles of Travel and Tourism
  • LEI 3836 Hospitality Management
  • LEI 4955 Humans and the Environment (Study Abroad Course: Australia, New Zealand and Fiji)
  • LEI 6834 Ecotourism
  • LEI 6839 Heritage Tourism
  • LEI 6931 Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism