Jan H. van Harssel, Ed.D.

Professor Emeritus van Harssel

Jan H. van Harssel, Ed.D.

Professor Emeritus



Professor Emeritus Jan H. van Harssel completed his 28th year at Niagara University and retired in Fall 2016. His research and teaching interest center on community tourism planning and destination design, guest services management, event and attractions management, behavioral economics, special interest/heritage tourism, and all aspects of geography. He serves as a consultant to numerous local and regional tourism agencies and is a frequent presenter at industry seminars and workshops. He served on the Board of Directors of the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and is active in Western New York chapters of Meeting Planners International and the International Special Events Society.

Dr. van Harssel consults frequently on issues impacting the regional and national hospitality and tourism industry, and he is the author of several textbooks, including the college text Tourism, An Exploration, published by Prentice Hall and currently in its third edition. His latest project, published in 2013, was produced in partnership with the National Geographic Society. In The National Geography Learning Visual Geography of Travel and Tourism world destinations are covered in twelve sections divided into short, easy-to-digest chapters, each presenting regional geographic information and physical, cultural, and touristic details specific to individual countries and locations. Each destination features a flag, National Geographic map, descriptive introduction from the National Geographic Atlas of the World, key facts and data, travel and cultural tips, and information on significant tourist destinations and attractions. Each section contains National Geographic articles in the features "Insider Info," "Through the Visitor's Eyes," "City Highlights," and "Preserving the Future." In addition to extensive updates to reflect the latest trends and developments in world tourism.

At Niagara University, he teaches Tourism Planning and Destination Design, World Geography, Cultural Geography, Tour and Transportation Management, Tourism Planning and Destination Design, and Contemporary Recreation and Leisure Concepts. He also oversees the College’s first semester freshmen year experience and coordinates the college’s scholarship information database.

Educational Background

  • Ed.D., Higher Education Administration, University of Vermont
  • M.P.S., Tourism and Travel Administration, Graduate School of Urban Professions, New School for Social Research
  • B.S., Business - Human Resources Management – Markendael College, Breda, The Netherlands

Teaching Courses

Hospitality Industry Systems, Tourism Information Systems, Tourism Geography, Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, Tourism Marketing, Tourism Planning and Destination Design, International Tourism, Leisure and Recreation, Attractions and Special Event Management, Tourism Destination Management and Marketing, Tour and Transportation Management, Tourism Transportation Operations, Travel Industry Project, Supervised Industry Project, New York State Tourism Seminar, and Senior Seminar.

Current Research Interest

Community tourism planning and development, guest services management, event and attractions management, behavioral economics, special interest/heritage tourism, and geography related topics.


  • van Harssel, J. (2014). National Geographic Learning Visual Geography of Travel and Tourism. With Lloyd Hudman and Richard Jackson. Cengage.
  • van Harssel, J. (2011). The application of integrated learning techniques in a hospitality industry service project. In P. Kot (Ed.), Case studies in active, integrative learning: Teaching innovations that make a difference (pp. 195-209). Lewiston, New York: Niagara University.
  • van Harssel, J. (2011). Meetings and events management. In R. A. Brymer & M. M. Johanson (Eds.), Hospitality: An introduction (pp. 299-305). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.
  • van Harssel, J. (Chapter Contributor). Active, Integrative Learning. Teaching Innovations That Make a Difference.  “The Application of Integrated Learning in a Hospitality Industry Service Project. Cambria Press. 2011.
  • van Harssel, J. (Chapter Contributor). Meetings and Events Management. Hospitality. An Introduction. Kendall Hunt Publishing. 2011.
  • van Harssel, J. (Chapter Contributor). Tourism Planning and Destination Design. Tourism. The Business of Travel.  Prentice Hall. 2010.
  • van Harssel, J. (Contributor).  Fundamentals of Destination Management. Published under the auspices of the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus. Glossary Chapter and Instructor’s Manual.  January 2006.
  • van Harssel, J. Resource Guide to Dutch Heritage Sites and Events in New York State. 2009. Published under contract with the NYS Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission for the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson journey


  • van Harssel, J. Presentation. Pennsylvania Bus Association conference. June 15, 2011. Quality Service Leadership.
  • van Harssel, J. (2009). Classroom Integration of Service Learning Project. Western New York Service Learning Coalition Conference. Medaille College, October 24, 2009.
  • van Harssel, J. (2009). Service Delivery and Employee Empowerment Workshop. Otesaga Inn. Cooperstown, NY.  June 8, 2009.
  • van Harssel, J. (2006) Seminar Session Facilitator. Customer Service Seminar. National Tourism Week. Invited by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. May 7, 2006.
  • van Harssel, J. (2006) (Panel participant). Charting the Future of the Collegiate Travel and Tourism Curriculum. Travel and Tourism Educators’ Symposium. SUNY Delhi. February 17, 2006.
  • van Harssel, J. & Gentile, M., (2006).  Integrating an intro course.  Non-refereed stand-up presentation at  Putting the Pieces Together:  Fostering Integrative Learning.  Niagara University, New York.


  • Commissioner. National Park Service Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. 2008-present.
  • Tourism Cares. Member of annual ASTA and Tourism Cares Scholarship Selection Committee. 2008-2012
  • Member. Education Advisory Council. Tourism Cares. 2006-2012.
  • Member. Educator Advisory Council. Destination Marketing Association International. 2007-2011.
  • Member Buffalo Audubon Society’s Steering Committee for the Joseph Davis Park Bird of Prey Center. 2006-2011.
  • Co-Chair and Organizer. New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association’s annual Silent Auction (to benefit scholarship fund). 2006-2011.
  • Member. DECA New York State Business Partnership Network. Board Member. 2006-2018.
  • Volunteer. Niagara Council on the Aging. Meals on Wheels. Deliver prepared meals weekly. 2002-present.


  • 2000, Promoted to rank of Professor
  • 1993, Awarded Tenure