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U.S-Asia Center Named One of Three Knowledge Partners by Prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council

By: Alison Rooney
First Published: August 20, 2021
Topics: Applied Knowledge, Industry Partnerships, Research, STHM School, Tourism & Hospitality, U.S.-Asia Center

Temple University is proud to announce that the U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism & Hospitality Research at the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) has recently been designated a Knowledge Partner of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). This recognition sets the school apart as one of only 10 such partners worldwide—only 3 of which are academic centers, and STHM is the only one from the U.S. The partnership provides faculty and students with access to extensive research and specialized resources, as well as opportunities for collaboration with leaders of prestigious travel and tourism organizations around the globe.

For more than 30 years, WTTC has conducted research on the economic impact of travel and tourism in 185 countries and 25 geographic or economic regions in the world. Current members comprise leaders of some 200 leading global travel and tourism companies, representing roughly 30 percent of the sector worldwide and responsible for approximately two-thirds of a trillion dollars in turnover in the U.S.

“This collaboration with WTTC is a testimony to our status as a preeminent tourism research center,” says Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li, chair of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management and director of the U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism and Hospitality Research. “Our partnership demonstrates our commitment and determination with regards to translational research, which is so fundamental to our students and industries as one of the school’s four strategic pillars.”

Numerous benefits to Knowledge Partners include access to WTTC research reports that are available only to members as well as access to high-profile workshops and meetings that are not open to the public. “Once you’re a member of this community with the most prestigious practitioners in the industry, you have access to resources that enable you to deliver the highest quality research projects,” says Associate Professor Yang Yang, who is executive director of the U.S.-Asia Center.

“This partnership allows us to engage in high-level conversations about the future of the industry,” continues Yang Yang, “and then bring back these perspectives to inform how we provide optimal educational experiences to students—whether at the undergrad, graduate, or PhD level. This enables our students to be that much more well-positioned, given the role that their STHM degree can play in their career trajectory.”

STHM’s active engagement with the WTTC began at their prestigious Global Summit in 2016 when Dr. Li attended—the year following his arrival at Temple—and he has attended every summit since. He presented a paper on mobile payment on behalf of the STHM team at the WTTC’s renowned Global Summit in April 2019, where President Barack Obama also spoke to 1,600 travel professionals.

“The WTTC partnership highlights STHM’s strengths in conducting research that is significant but also relevant and practical,” Dr. Li notes, “so that more stakeholders are able to readily make use of it.”