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SURF-UH Fellow Seeks to Define Houston’s Tourism Identity

What do people think of Houston? Under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Draper, junior Davis Webb is working to identify the city’s reputation as a tourist destination, thanks to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF-UH).

Supported by the Office of the Provost, the Division of Research and the Honors College, SURF-UH provides funding for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors to conduct 10-weeks of research over the summer under the direction of UH faculty.

Webb applied for the fellowship after Dr. Draper’s Tourism class inspired him to learn more about this area of hospitality.

“After getting an overview of tourism in terms of promotion, marketing, development and destination planning from the class, I realized there is so much research potential in these areas,” Webb said. “When I heard about SURF-UH, I approached Dr. Draper with my interest in participating in the program.”

For his study, Webb is collecting data from Houston residents and non-residents about their perceptions of Houston’s destinations and amenities, including hotels, sports venues, restaurants and museums. After Webb completes his research in August, he and Dr. Draper will share their findings with Visit Houston, the tourism arm of the Houston First Corporation.

“People who have been to Houston often have a different image of the city than those who have not,” Dr. Draper said. “The results of this study could help market the city better to locals and visitors alike.”

Webb will also present a poster during the 15th annual Undergraduate Research Day, set for April 2, 2020 in the M.D. Anderson Library. The event is open to the public. 

(Story & Photo: Pearl Cajoles)

Posted on July 18, 2019