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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel and Tourism Industry Center


In the spring of 2004, the University of South Carolina launched the most comprehensive and inclusive travel and tourism industry research and outreach center in the United States as a joint effort of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management and the Moore School of Business.

Funded in part through a generous grant from the prestigious Sloan Foundation, headquartered in New York, the center adopted the official name: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center at the University of South Carolina.

Our People

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Rich Harrill, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Rich Harrill has a strong record of success in and an international reputation for leveraging his academic and professional experience combining tourism with economic development and urban planning to drive local, regional, national and international business, tourism and economic growth. Awarded more than $1.2 million in external funding for his research, he brings an industry-driven business mode and academic entrepreneurship to the university level. More…

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Robert Li, Ph.D., Associate Director

An award-winning researcher, Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li has conducted extensive research related to destination tourism marketing, tourist behavior, event management and tourism planning, with special emphasis on destination perception, customer loyalty and Internet marketing. Before coming to the United States, Dr. Li worked in the city tourism bureau of Nanjing, China, for five years.


To accomplish its mission, the center has identified several strategic focuses:

  • Locate connections among the diverse segments of the travel and tourism industry to establish a common ground for understanding and collaboration
  • Conduct research and analyze effective practices that industry can adopt through inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional teams of faculty
  • Tap into the experiences and best practices of other industries by utilizing the Sloan Industry Centers network, which represents more than 25 areas of commerce and manufacturing
  • Partner with travel and tourism companies in setting research agendas, and deliver impartial, practical information, and analysis to the industry
  • Exchange ideas and information across industries and institutions through such vehicles as “think tanks” and summit conferences
  • Provide educational resources and opportunities for the travel and tourism industry
  • Become a source of outstanding workforce talent for the industry through work-study, internship and permanent employment opportunities
  • Encourage workforce development and advancement at all levels
  • Utilize strategic alliances with universities around the world to address global challenges and opportunities