Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

Kelly S. Bricker, Ph.D.

Kelly S. Bricker, M.S.View Full Vita

Faculty Position

Interim Chair and Associate Professor (Sustainable Tourism, Outdoor Recreation, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Place Attachment and Community Impacts of Tourism).

Contact Information

Office:  Annex 1070
Phone: 585-6503


Ph.D., Parks, recreation, tourism / Geography, 1998
The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

M.S.,  Parks, recreation, tourism / Communications, 1984
Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL

B.S., Parks, recreation, tourism / Zoology, 1981
Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL


Dr. Bricker is currently Interim Chair, and Associate Professor at the University of Utah in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, with an emphasis on sustainable tourism management.  Since 1986, Kelly has worked in tourism as a guide, manager, and director in international adventure travel with Sobek Expeditions and World Heritage Travel Group.  With her husband Nathan Bricker, and OARS colleague George Wendt, they developed an ecotourism whitewater and sea kayaking operation called Rivers Fiji, which has been operating now since 1998.

Kelly completed her Ph.D. research with the Pennsylvania State University, where she specialized in sustainable tourism and natural resource management. She has special research and teaching interest in ecotourism, sense of place, natural resource management, and the environmental and social impacts of tourism.  She has conducted research on ecotourism certification and management, tourism and quality of life, heritage tourism, social impacts of tourism, and impacts on natural resource tourism environments.  She has presented papers on issues in sustainable tourism certification, ecotourism management, sense of place, and natural resource management. She has published articles and book chapters on sense of place and whitewater recreationists, perceptions of incentive travelers, ecotourism, certification and policy in tourism, sustainable tourism, and health and well-being in communities.  She is currently the Chair of the Board for The International Ecotourism Society, and serves as Chair of the Board for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. 

Research Interests/Activity

Research is an important aspect of my academic life and personal development.  It is my goal to discover and disseminate new knowledge to scholars and practitioners through an applied research agenda. 

In essence, I am a sociologist and geographer with an interest in sustainable forms of tourism development, with a particular focus on nature-based tourism and socio-cultural tourism impacts. I approach these concepts from multi-disciplinary perspectives by incorporating into my investigations aspects of socio-cultural anthropology, geographical concepts of place attachment, and principles of ecology, outdoor recreation and natural resource management. 

More specifically, I have and will continue to investigate:

  1. The role of place attachment in mitigating the negative social and cultural impacts of tourism development.
  2. The relationships between nature-based leisure experiences and sustainable tourism development.
  3. The relationship between ecotourism and biodiversity conservation.
  4. The relationship between levels of specialization, place attachment, and natural resource management.

New Research

Forest Service Sustainability Study


Collection of Academic Programs in Tourism


Kerstetter, D., Confer, J., and Bricker, K. Industrial heritage attractions:  Types and tourists.  Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 7(2): 91-104, 1998. 

Cottrell, S., Bricker, K., Kerstetter, D., & Verhoven, P. (1998). A qualitative analysis of the decision making process for selecting travel as a “value-added” incentive. Visions in Leisure and Business, 17(1), 11-22, 1998. 

Cottrell, S., Bricker, K., & Verhoven, P. (1999). An exploratory assessment of changes in traveler perceptions of two exotic incentive travel destinations: Fiji and Tahiti.   World Leisure and Recreation Association Journal, 41(1), 29-34, 1999.

Bricker, K., and Kerstetter, D.  Is attachment to place different among whitewater recreation specialists?  Leisure Sciences, 22(4):  233-258, 2000.  

Bricker, K. Ecotourism development in the rural highlands of Fiji.  In D. Harrison (Ed.), Tourism and the less developed world:  Issues and case studies. (pp. 235-250). Wallingford, UK: CABI, 2001.

Berno, T. and Bricker, K. Sustainable tourism development: The long road from theory to practice.  International Journal of Economic Development, 3(3), pp. 1-18, 2001.  

Cottrell, S. & K. Bricker. Het effect van servicekwaliteit bij promotiereizen op de loyaliteit van klanten. In J. Lengkeek & L. Boomars (Eds), Producten van verbeelding,  (pp. 161-173). Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen University Press, 2001.

Bricker, K., & Kerstetter, D. Whitewater recreationists on the South Fork of the American River:  An interpretation of special place meanings.  Tourism Geography, 4(4), 396-425, 2002.

Bricker, K., Sirakaya, E., and Berno, T. Sustainable tourism curriculum development. Annals of Tourism Research, 29 (2): 562-564, 2002.

Bricker, K.  Fiji: Small island ecotourism planning amidst political unrest and rising tides.  In Honey, M. (Ed.), Ecotourism and certification:  Setting standards in practice (pp. 265-298).  Washington DC: Island Press, 2002.

Bricker, K. Sustainable places:  Complex reflections of an illusive ideal.  Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 21(4), 1-13, 2003.

Cottrell, S. and Bricker, K. Calidad en el servicio y su repercusión en la fidelidad de los clientos entre los receptores de viajes de incentivos a Islas Fiji y Kenia. A. Apraiz & M. F. Iribar (Eds), Experiencias y tecnicas en la gestión del ocio (pp. 143-157).  Bilbao, Spain:  Universidad de Eusto, 2003.

Bricker, K.  Ecotourism development in Fiji: Policy, practice, and political instability.  In R.K.  Dowling & D.A. Fennell (Eds.), Ecotourism policy and planning. (pp. 187-204), Wallingford, UK:  CABI Publications, 2003.

Kyle, G., Bricker, K., Graefe, A., & Wickham, T. An examination of recreationists’ relationships with activities and settings.  Leisure Sciences, 26,123-142, 2004.

Bricker, K., & Kerstetter, D. Saravanua ni vanua:  Exploring sense of place in the rural highlands of Fiji.  In G. Jennings and N. Nickerson (Eds), Quality Tourism Experiences (pp. 99-109). Burlington, MA:  Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006. 

Bricker, K., Daniels, M., & Carmichael, B. (2006). Quality tourism development and planning. In G. Jennings & N. Nickerson (Eds.), Quality Tourism Experiences? (pp. 171-189), Butterworth Heinemann, 2006. 

Andereck, K., Bricker, K., Kerstetter, D., & Nickerson, N. Understanding the meanings behind visitors’ experiences. In G. Jennings and N. Nickerson (Eds), Quality Tourism Experiences (pp. 81-96).  Burlington, MA:  Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006. 

Bricker, K., & Kerstetter, D. Symbolic uses of river recreation resources: Whitewater boaters special places on the South Fork of the American River.  S. McCool, R. Clark, G. Stankey, & R. Mazza (Eds.), Water and people:  Challenges at the interface of symbolic and utilitarian values. Missoula, MT:  USDA Forest Service, in press, 2008.

Bricker, K., Chavez, D., & Hendricks, W. (2007). Recreation and Fire Management in Urban National Forests:  A Study of Manager Perspectives.  Submitted Fall, 2007.

Kerstetter, D., Bricker, K., & Li, H. The consonance of sense of place meanings for Rural Fijian Highlanders. In press, 2008.

Dustin, Daniel L., Bricker, Kelly S. and Schwab, Keri A.(2010) 'People and Nature: Toward an Ecological Model of Health Promotion', Leisure Sciences, 32: 1, 3 - 14.