July 2021

Meet Becky Liu-Lastres

Professor Becky Liu-Lastres, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Tourism, Event, and Sport Management. Her main research interests include risk and crisis communication/management in tourism and hospitality, tourist safety and security, social media in tourism and hospitality, and tourism management. Professor Liu-Lastres has established a research program focusing on how various stakeholders, including tourists, residents, organizations, and destinations, respond to and manage emerging issues. These findings have been translated to practical implications in terms of crisis management and resilience building in tourism and hospitality. The goal of Professor Liu-Lastres’s research agenda is to promote safe travel and to ensure the health and well-being of tourists, organizations, and other key stakeholders within the tourism and hospitality industry. In her free time, Professor Liu-Lastres practices yoga, and spends a lot of time with her dog.

"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity." ― John F. Kennedy 

Research Photos

Professor Becky Liu-Lastres and her research team.
Professor Becky Liu-Lastres and researcher presenting data.

Q and A with Professor Liu-Lastres

I have always been passionate about tourism and travel. I love to experience new things and explore. My college education made me realize that tourism and travel is a social-cultural phenomenon that bears more than having fun. As I am getting more involved in the field, I want to do research that is meaningful, practical, and useful. I finalize my research interests in tourism crisis communication and management during my graduate program.  

My overall research agenda aims to promote safe travel. I try to solve two problems: How can we effectively manage risk and crises in tourism and hospitality? How can we build and reach resilience in tourism and hospitality?  

Tourism and hospitality is a very practical field, and we heavily rely on research-driven solutions. The direct application of my research is to translate the research findings into practical implications. The subjects of my research projects vary from individuals (i.e., tourists, residents), organizations (i.e., hotels, cruise lines) to destinations. All of them can benefit from my research findings and the highlighted implications.  

I am always happy to try out different research designs, answer innovative research questions, and most importantly, help stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes.  

Both undergraduate and graduate students have been involved in my research projects. For undergraduate students, I always encourage them to participate in the UROP program and have a taste for research. Graduate students mostly work on my project as research assistants.  

Community partners have been engaged in my research in two ways. Some of them are sponsors of my research projects, mainly through professional associations. Others frequently participated in my research. Their voice and input lay the foundation for my research program.  

The COVID-19 pandemic hits the tourism and hospitality industry hard. As we are eager to recover, there remain uncertainties. My next stop is to promote my research findings and to help the stakeholder quickly adjust to the new normal and better prepare for future complications. 

Conversation with Professor Liu-Lastres

On Friday, July 23, 2021 from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. Professor Liu-Lastres gave a virtual presentation about her work on “Are We Always Prepared? Examining Risk and Crisis Management in Tourism and Hospitality."  She shared some of her major findings in previous research and provided insights into the lessons we have learned from the industry's experiences with COVID-19 and how we can adapt to the new normal.