Friday, October 31, 2014

SmartState Center Report Wins Prestige National Award

The SmartState Center’s report on the Bluffton branding project has won a 2014 American Graphic Design Award. Of the roughly 9,000 entries, just a handful of designs were selected as winners. The Center outsourced the design to Two Monkeys Graphic Design, a Columbia-based company run by Sherry Simmons. Sherry said: "I really appreciated this tremendous opportunity that the Center gave me to create something special for promoting Bluffton, SC. It is truly a great honor, to be chosen to design something for such a great area of South Carolina, while working with the SmartState Center.” Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) said the report “is, in a nutshell, exceptional.” The five decade-old competition is presented by GDUSA, the business-to-business magazine for creative professionals. The awards program honors the power of design to shape commerce, culture and communications across all media. Other winners this year included Adobe, Amazon, Duracell, General Motors, Kodak, Mattel and Nike. So the SmartState Center and Two Monkeys are among great company! To access the full report, click below:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Painting a picture of the future of travel: By Simon Hudson

I am currently writing an article about the top ten consumer trends influencing the future of travel. Number one on my list is the quest for learning and enrichment, and a growing trend in tourism today is for tourists to seek a learning experience as a part of the vacation. A recent survey found that half of North American travelers want to visit art, architectural, or historic sites on vacations, while one-third would like to learn a new skill or activity. Today’s travelers are seeking experiences that provide them with a greater insight, increased understanding, and a personal connection to the people and places they visit. Rather than choose their vacation by the destination, many are first determining the experiences they want, and then choosing the destination where these experiences are located. Capitalizing on this trend is talented Dutch-Caribbean artist, Elisa Lejuez. Elisa is a prolific painter, and I was very fortunate this week to visit her home and gallery on Aruba to see some of her work. Her mega modern home in Noord, Aruba, is a perfect backdrop for her art and innovative wallpaper. As well as creating colorful multi-media, textured paintings, Elisa is a textile and clothing designer. Her art can be seen in galleries and hotels around Aruba including the Aruba Marriott and eco-resort, Bucuti & Tara as well as online ( And her clothing line is available in several boutiques and online ( A new project for Elisa is teaming up with a local tour operator to provide art lessons to holiday-makers. In November she joins a group of Aruban artists on a trip to New York City for a teaching seminar sponsored by the Aruba Tourism Authority. And, back home, she will offer private and group lessons from her studio throughout the year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Aruba puts the spotlight on green: By Simon Hudson

I was invited to Aruba this week to speak at two conferences focused on the environment. The first conference, running from 21-22 October, is called Leading Sustainable Tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the second, Green Aruba/Europe Meets the Americas Conference (GA-EMA) runs from October 23-25. Essentially I am covering three key topics in my presentations. The first topic will look at whether the ‘greening’ of tourism is consumer or industry-driven, the second relates to the challenges associated with going green, and the third will examine ways that the greening of tourism can influence other sectors of the economy. Aruba as an island is attempting to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by moving alternative sources of energy, such as wind, solar and wave energy. The tourism industry on the island is also taking steps towards sustainability. One hotel owner in particular is making great strides to this end, having won numerous awards for green practices. Ewald Biemans is owner of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts and is well know on the island for being an environmental preservation pioneer. His Eagle Beach property is the first resort in the Americas to be certified ISO 14001 – a classification that requires superior environmental management. I was fortunate enough to tour the property this week, and below I am pictured with Ewald, who is himself speaking at the Leading Sustainable Tourism conference. For more information on the resort’s environmental initiatives visit:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SmartState Welcomes International Tourism Expert

Dr. Ying Wang, international tourism expert and esteemed colleague, recently visited the University of South Carolina. Dr. Wang, is a Lecturer (equivalent to Assistant Professor in the US) with the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management at Griffith University, Australia. Her research interests lie in destination management and marketing, tourist experience and hotel management. Her work has appeared in internationally recognized journals including Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Travel Research, International Journal of Hospitality Management, and Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tourism Intelligence in Action

Dr. Hudson ran into well-known tourism guru, Jafar Jafari, last week in Lisbon. Jafar, founder of Annals of Tourism Research, is very much involved in creating a new international organization fully dedicated to knowledge transfer in tourism: Tourism Intelligence Forum (t-FORUM). The group has announced its inaugural conference. Called the t-FORUM 2015 Global Conference: Tourism Intelligence in Action, the conference is to be held in Naples, Italy, from 4 to 7 May 2015. Dr. Hudson plans to attend the event, since the focus of the conference is on knowledge transfer; linking and engaging destinations and tourism businesses with research and education institutions – exactly what the Smartstate Center for Tourism does in South Carolina.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SmartState Center Establishes Portuguese Connection

Dr. Hudson was in Lisbon Portugal this week establishing a relationship with the European University, part of the Laureate International Universities group. Pictured above is Dr. Hudson, shaking hands with Rector Tawfiq Rkibi, after signing a memorandum of understanding. “There are numerous ways that our institutions can work together,” said Dr. Hudson, “but we have already discussed engaging in collaborative research on golf tourism and accessible tourism. Golf tourism is critical to both South Carolina and Portugal, and we are both facing the challenges of serving an ageing traveling population.” Whilst he was visiting the European University, Dr. Hudson was invited by the Dean of Tourism & Hospitality, Antónia Correia, to deliver a lecture on golf tourism to students, faculty and industry practitioners. He is pictured below giving that seminar.