On November 7, 1985, the Recreation, Travel and Tourism Institute was approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education as a research center within the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University.
The Recreation, Travel and Tourism Institute was created to provide a focal point for coordinating research, extension, and teaching programs related to recreation and tourism at Clemson University and within the state of South Carolina. The Institute grew out of the increased recognition of the economic, social and environmental impact of the tourism industry to South Carolina and the importance of recreation to the quality of life to South Carolina residents.
The growth of tourism in South Carolina has resulted in the need for Clemson University to address some of tourism's complex issues such as market analysis and promotion, land-use planning, geographic distribution, public-private cooperation, coastal resource development and the integration of tourism with other community development strategies.
To address this wide variety of issues, and because of the multi-disciplinary nature of tourism, we have collaborative relationships with a number of area experts at Clemson from Economics, Sociology, Forestry, Architecture, Business and Marketing. The Institute is also well positioned both nationally and internationally by having collaborative relationships with experts and institutions in the United States and abroad. In recognition of this collaboration, the Institute's name was changed to the International Institute for Tourism Research & Development in 2007.
The Institute continues to focus on local, regional, and state level community recreation, travel and tourism issues in South Carolina and the Southeast US region. The institute also continues to focus on developing collaborative relationships with researchers in other states and nations as a means to explore comparative models and strategies and better inform development and sustainability of tourism in South Carolina.