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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

Dr. Liping A. Cai is professor and director of Purdue University China Center. He also serves as associate dean overseeing the Office of Diversity and International Programs in the College of Health and Human Sciences, and as director of Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Professor Cai studies branding and consumers in tourism, and is a governor-appointee to the Indiana Tourism Council. He 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. At Purdue University, Professor Cai oversees the five-year $10M Nanshan Fund sponsored by a multinational corporation to support student scholarships and faculty research, instruction and training. He is an ACE (American Council on Education) Fellow in the 2013-14 class.

Professor Cai's research portfolio includes 200+ peer-reviewed papers. He studies branding and consumer experiences in the travel marketplace. His other interests include rural tourism development and marketing, and behavioral and psychographic profiling of tourism consumers. He is recognized as the originator of a destination brand model that supports collaborative tourism for rural communities, and is the recipient of several best paper awards at international conferences. Professor Cai serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Travel Research, Journal of Hospitality Marketing Management, Tourism Management, Tourism Analysis, and Journal of Vacation Marketing. He is North America regional editor for the Journal of China Tourism Research.

Professor Cai served as a travel and tourism industry expert to the World Economic Forum (2005-06), on the board of International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators (2002-2006), as the senior academic advisor to Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center for the study of outbound China market (2007-2012). Prior to 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. He was a former tour operator and destination sales manager in China.

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 various 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.

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Research Center

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China Center
China Center