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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • SmartState Tourism logo with garnet background

About SmartState Tourism

The Richardson Family SmartState Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Tourism was funded and established in 2010 as the first endowed SmartState Center related to economic development and tourism at the University of South Carolina. The Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development (SmartState Tourism) is dedicated to generating data-driven insights that inform and support the growth of tourism economies.

Goals

Tourism in South Carolina is responsible for more than $17 billion in spending annually and employs approximately 10 percent of the state's workforce. The Center's vision is to be the leading center for innovative, relevant, and interdisciplinary research in tourism and destination management throughout the world.

  1. Become a one-stop resource of relevant data and research related to tourism and hospitality for the South Carolina tourism industry.
  2. Help guide public and private sector policies through academic consulting that will lead to improved tourism planning and development in South Carolina.
  3. Disseminate research via speaking engagements, conferences, research seminars, the website, newsletters, social networking, and marketing.
  4. Provide training and education for domestic and international leaders and scholars in various areas of excellence in the tourism industry.
  5. Act as a think tank for both applied and academic tourism-related research.


Our Faculty

Our Graduate Assistants

  • Yaqi Gong headshot

    Yaqi Gong

    Graduate Research Assistant

    Yaqi Gong is from Changsha, China. She received her B.S. in tourism management from Central China Normal University and her M.S. in recreation, park, and tourism management from the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include tourist online behavior, tourists’ interaction with technology, and ethical issues behind technology-enhanced tourism.


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