Dr. Simon Hudson, Tourism Expert and CoEE Endowed Chair at USC
Dr. Simon Hudson was recently appointed as the CoEE Endowed Chair in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. In that role, he leads the Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development at the University of South Carolina.
The Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program uses State Lottery and non-state funds to create advanced research centers at USC along with Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina. The goal of the CoEE Program is to develop the state's knowledge-based economy and create high-skill, high-paying jobs for citizens.
Dr. Hudson is a top tourism expert who was recruited to South Carolina from the University of Calgary. Below, he discusses his research, his thoughts on the state's tourism industry, and why he chose to come to South Carolina.
Why have you chosen to come to South Carolina? What interested you about the opportunity?
I am always looking for new challenges in life, and although it will be quite a change for me coming from the Canadian Rockies to South Carolina, I am really looking forward to this new opportunity. Often, tourism as an academic subject is not taken seriously despite its importance as an industry. It is, after all, one of the largest industries in the world. So the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management and the University of South Carolina should be commended for creating this center. The College has some excellent researchers already, and I am looking forward to being part of that team.
Was there anything about the state's CoEE Program that was particularly attractive?
One of my strengths is that my research has always been relevant and applicable to the tourism industry, so it is exciting to be the director of a center that has a specific goal of encouraging research that is to be directly applicable to tourism in South Carolina. It is wonderful to be part of a high-profile program that has appropriated $180 million to the state's three main research institutions to fund research and create endowed professorships that will spur the state's economic development.
How do you see that tourism can help drive 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 stakeholders in the tourism industries of South Carolina by providing cost-effective research. Tourism is now one of the largest industries in South Carolina, responsible for more than $17 billion dollars in spending and employing more than 200,000 people—approximately 10% of South Carolina's workforce. However, to me, the tourism industry in South Carolina is not fulfilling its potential. South Carolina has an amazing tourism product—incredible beaches, over 300 golf course, 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 it will ultimately improve South Carolina's competitiveness as a tourism destination, thus securing sustainable employment in the tourism sector.
You have a new book coming out on golf tourism. How does golf tourism tie into what you will be doing at the University of South Carolina?
Golf represents the largest sports-related travel market. The golf industry is a critical part of South Carolina's tourism sector, so I am hoping that the book—and my research in this area—will be of great benefit to anyone involved in golf tourism. The book discusses such issues as (1) business, demographics, and psychographics as they relate to golf tourists, (2) planning for golf tourism through the development of golf resort communities and understanding the link between golf and real estate, (3) managing golf tourism, including operations, finance, and HR, and the role of marketing, and (4) the environmental, social, and economic impact of golf tourism.
Photo courtesy of Kene Sperry Eye in the Sky Photography