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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • SmartState graphic showing the state of South Carolina portioned into the regions foothills, piedmont, midlands, and lowcountry with different colors. The graphic says: SmartState Tourism and Economic Development

Richardson Family SmartState Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development

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. SmartState Tourism works with industry professionals, scholars, organizations and stakeholders across three primary areas of focus.

Research: leading innovative, relevant, and interdisciplinary research to respond to industry needs. 

SmartState Tourism is home to three research laboratories/initiatives:

  1. The Coastal Tourism Resilience Laboratory (CENTRAL)
  2. The Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (TCMI)
  3. and, Tourism and Destination Competitiveness (TDC)

The center’s actionable insights and resources include the Domestic Travel Anxiety Index and Actionable Advocacy Insights.

Consulting: collaborating with consulting firms to address real-world issues for destinations across the globe. 

Training: providing critical knowledge and skills through dynamic workshops, certificates and courses.

Lori Pennington-Gray speaks to tourism officials in Belize.
SmartState Tourism director Lori Pennington-Gray is working on a grant-funded project in Caye Caulker, Belize, to develop a tourism crisis management plan for the island.

Graduate Students, Internships and Visiting Scholars

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For More Information

Lori Pennington-Gray headshot

Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D.

Director and Endowed Chair
SmartState Tourism Center
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
University of South Carolina

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.