Jason Swanson

Jason Swanson

Portrait of Jason Swanson

Jason Swanson

Associate Professor

Leadership Faculty
120 Erikson Hall Lexington, KY 40506-0050

Last Revised: Oct 30th, 2023

Professional Biography

Jason holds a Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

At the University of Kentucky, Jason teaches classes on introductory tourism, tourism trends, multi-media visual storytelling, and has led multiple Education Abroad programs to France, Panama, Greece, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Jason has also taught strategic tourism planning to Ph.D. students at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand for five years.

In 2018, one of his University of Kentucky courses – Transformative Travels:  Exploring Kentucky – was featured as a TV series on PBS-affiliate Kentucky Educational Television (KET).  Jason’s Spring 2019 semester abroad in London with University of Kentucky students is the subject of the series’ second season, which also aired on PBS in early 2021.  Other television programming Jason has produced include stories on a newly-designated National Heritage Area in Kentucky, the present-day tourism attraction where Kentucky was founded, and the historical connections between the early days of horse racing in Lexington and England’s horse capital, Newmarket.  Because of his work in travel media for local television, Jason was invited to host a regular monthly segment on WTVQ – Lexington’s ABC affiliate – that features his explorations of tourism attractions in central Kentucky.  The segment, known as Dr. Jason’s LEXplorations, debuted in October, 2023. 

Jason’s research contributions focus on tourism development, having co-authored four editions of the textbook, Tourism Policy and Planning:  Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, which has been used by graduate and undergraduate students in several countries including Thailand, Iran, New Zealand, and Slovenia.  The book has also been translated into Chinese.  He has also published other research on the topic of transformative travel – how travel experiences affect the traveler – and has an emerging research interest in travel media and storytelling.

Jason’s research and teaching activities have been enhanced because of his industry involvement including consulting work with VisitLEX, BP (as a tourism subject matter expert following the 2012 oil spill), the National Tour Association, and 4-H Youth Development, among other organizations.  He has received the Patricia Brantley Todd Award of Excellence in HES-Faculty Research Award and the Early Career Outstanding Teacher Award presented by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Student Council.  He was named to the inaugural class of Southeast Tourism Society’s Forty for the Future, recognizing tourism’s leading talent under the age of 40.

Jason’s professional experience prior to joining the University of Kentucky consists of hotel operations, market/feasibility analysis, hospitality real estate advisory services, and tourism development.  He has worked for consulting clients in the trade association, restaurant, hotel, spa, convention center, marina, golf course, and government sectors in over 50 markets throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Asia.

Profile Resources

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Ph.D., Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, 2010
M.M.H., Hotel Administration, Cornell University, 2003
B.S., Finance, George Mason University, 1997

Course Instruction

HMT 270: Principles of Travel and Tourism
HMT 359: Hospitality and Tourism Special Topics
HMT 486: HMT Study Tour
HMT 580: Trends Analysis for the Hospitality Industry
HMT 588: Strategic Management in the Hospitality & Food Service Industry

Contact Information

Vanessa Jackson, Ph.D.
Department Chair

102 Erikson Hall Lexington, KY 40506-0050

+1 (859) 257-4917