Lee to study tourism in U.S., China

National and global tourism are on the rise, and according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, are expected to contribute $11.3 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years, and create more than 300 million jobs worldwide.

Dr. Bob Lee, program coordinator for BGSU's tourism, leisure and event-planning program (TLEP), was recently awarded two grants to conduct research on the tourism industry here and in China.

As the consumer becomes more educated about travel, it is increasingly important for faculty and students in the tourism field to become well versed in the cultural values of other countries, he said.

As part of a larger collaboration between BGSU and Beijing Union University (BUU), Lee was awarded a grant from the Tourism College at BUU for a collaborative research initiative between the two institutions.

"This collaborative cross-cultural study between the Tourism College at BUU in China and the TLEP program at BGSU will help to increase participants' cultural awareness in a world-view framework, alleviate cultural alienation and address how to appreciate diverse cultural values," Lee said.

The project will include Lee as the principal investigator along with one BGSU student and a team of 11 BUU students.

Concurrently, Lee will also head a project aimed to increase tourism in Ohio, specifically the coastal region of Lake Erie. This year, Ohio tourism is expected to breach the $40 billion mark, and the field saw a moderate increase in jobs from 2013 to 2014. According to Tourism Ohio, the industry is expected to steadily increase the number of jobs created each year over the next decade.

Lees proposed study, "A Study of a Special Event: Annual Walleye Festival at Port Clinton," was accepted by the Ohio Sea Grant office and Lee was awarded the sum of $15,600 to complete the project.

His research will afford the opportunity for one graduate assistant to play a role in this project. Lee suggests the outcomes of this project will present a successful model of developing a special event in order to grow the local economy.