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SC Recruits One of the World's Leading Tourism Experts

Carolina Headlines - Tourism

COLUMBIA – South Carolina's biggest industry received a major boost today when one of the world's top tourism experts officially arrived at the University of South Carolina, recruited through the state's Centers of Economic Excellence Program.

Dr. Simon Hudson has been recruited to help South Carolina capture a greater share of the tourism market. He has been appointed as the CoEE Endowed Chair in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. He will lead the Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development, which is housed in USC's College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management and affiliated with Coastal Carolina University.

The Tourism and Economic Development Center, one of 46 university-based research centers created by the CoEE Program, will focus on tourism as a driver of economic development in South Carolina. The work of this center, Hudson believes, will help improve the state's economy and create jobs

"One of the goals of the center is to become a one-stop resource of relevant information and intelligence to all tourism industry stakeholders by providing cost-effective research," he says.

"Tourism is now the number one industry in South Carolina, responsible for more than $17 billion dollars in spending and employing more than 200,000 people – approximately 10 percent of South Carolina's workforce. However, to me, the tourism industry in South Carolina is not fulfilling its potential," Hudson continues. "South Carolina has an amazing tourism product incredible beaches, over 300 golf courses, beautiful lakes, rich cultural tourism, and of course terrific hospitality. By leading cutting-edge tourism and hospitality research that is relevant and directly applicable to the tourism industry in South Carolina, we can ultimately improve the state's competitiveness as a tourism destination, thus securing sustainable employment in the tourism sector."

Hudson comes to South Carolina from the University of Calgary in Canada. He has held academic positions at two universities in England, and has worked as a visiting professor in the U.S., Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. Prior to working in academia, Dr. Hudson spent several years working in the tourism industry in Europe.

Hudson has written five books. His latest co-written with travel writer Louise Hudson is called Golf Tourism. It details international best practices in marketing, management, operations and development, including a case study on South Carolina. Hudson notes that golf tourism represents a vast and growing travel market, valued at about $20 billion worldwide.

"The golf industry is a critical part of South Carolina's tourism sector," Hudson notes. "I am hoping that the book and my research in this area will be of great benefit to anyone involved in golf tourism."

Hudson's other books focus on the international ski industry, sports and adventure tourism, and tourism marketing. Additionally, he has published countless journal articles and is an internationally recognized public speaker on topics such as tourism marketing, film tourism, consumer trends, sport and adventure tourism, and reaching baby boomers.

Hudson says that although moving from the Canadian Rockies to South Carolina is a dramatic change, he is excited about the new challenge and opportunity.

"Often, tourism is an academic subject not taken seriously despite its importance as an industry. It is, after all, the number one industry in the world as it is in South Carolina," he says. "USC should be commended for creating this Center. It has some excellent researchers already, and I am looking forward to being part of that team."

Hudson notes that the state's CoEE Program shows South Carolina's commitment to innovation and was a major factor in his decision to move his work to the Palmetto State. "It is wonderful to be part of a high-profile program that will spur the state's economic development," he says.

"The CoEE Program is helping create jobs not only in emerging industries like biotechnology and future fuels, but also in well-established industries like tourism," says CoEE Review Board Chair Paula Harper Bethea. "We are excited about the fresh ideas and energy Dr. Simon Hudson brings. We are confident that his work will be a major step forward in maximizing our tourism industry and creating economic opportunity for all South Carolinians."

About the CoEE Program

The CoEE Program was created by the South Carolina legislature in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy. Each Center of Economic Excellence is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in state funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment. To date, 46 Centers of Economic Excellence have been created and 23 CoEE Endowed Chairs have been appointed to lead the centers. The CoEE Program has resulted in more than a quarter billion dollars of non-state investment in the South Carolina economy and is responsible for the creation of more than 3,200 jobs.

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