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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management


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The Richardson Family SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development

The Center was established in 2010 with a specific goal to encourage research that is to be directly applicable to tourism in South Carolina.

Established by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2002, the SC Centers of Economic Excellence Program (or SmartState) is investing in talent and infrastructure at South Carolina's three research universities, including the University of South Carolina, to drive economic development.

The program has appropriated $200 million—which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by non-state funds—to the state's three main research institutions to fund research and create endowed professorships that will spur the state's economic development. The University of South Carolina has been approved for 14 Centers of Economic Excellence and one of these new centers of excellence is in Tourism and Economic Development.

Our Goals

  • Become a one-stop resource of relevant information and intelligence to all stakeholders in the tourism industries of South Carolina by providing cost-effective research
  • Act as a vehicle for staff, research students and associates to undertake both applied and academic tourism related research
  • Generate external funding
  • Attract high quality students
  • Attract high quality visiting scholars
  • Disseminate research via symposiums, conferences, research seminars, website, newsletters social network marketing
  • Train domestic and international leaders and scholars about the tourism industry
  • Help formulate public- and private-sector policies that will lead to improvement in tourism planning and development in South Carolina