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Liping A. Cai, Ph.D.

Professor & Director, Purdue Tourism & Hospitality Research Center
Associate Dean, College of Health & Human Sciences
Director, Purdue University China Center

Professor Liping A. Cai is an American Council on Education Fellow (2013-14 Class) and has been in the academy since 1993. He studies consumers of hospitality and tourism and has authored 250+ peer-reviewed research articles, including eight best papers coauthored with his doctoral students at international conferences. He pioneered the cooperative branding model for rural destinations and currently focuses on branding, rural tourism and China market. Professor Cai’s research team consists of Fulbright and other international scholars, as well as the faculty and graduate students affiliated with Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center. He is the principal investigator of 60+ grants and contracts. Professor Cai co-edits the book series Bridging Tourism Theories and Practices and serves on four editorial boards of academic journals.

Administratively, Professor Cai serves in Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences as associate dean for diversity and international programs. He coordinates the college’s study abroad programs in about 20 countries and chairs its diversity council. Professor Cai also directs Purdue University China Center and oversees a corporate-sponsored $10M fund for research, training and scholarship. He is a governor-appointee to the Tourism Council in the State of Indiana and a board member of the America China Society of Indiana.

Professor Cai received Purdue University's designation of University Faculty Scholar in 2003 and the Four-Year University and College Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators in 2009. He also served as travel and tourism industry expert to the World Economic Forum, on the board of International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators, and as the senior academic advisor to Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center for the study of outbound China market. Prior to his Purdue appointment in 1999, Professor Cai was director of the Center for Economic Development through Tourism in the College of Agriculture, New Mexico State University.

Professor Cai was born and raised in rural Jiangsu Province of China. In 1978 he became the country's first college student of tourism in today's Nanjing Institute of Tourism and Hospitality. He studied American and English literature part-time in Nanjing Normal University and graduated in 1986. Professor Cai worked in the tourism and banking sectors of China's new economy for 10 years before he studied at Michigan State University where He received MBA in 1993. He earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1996. Professor Cai resides with his family in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.

Research Center
Research Center

HHS Study Abroad
Study Abroad

China Center
China Center