Skip to Content

College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Faculty and Staff

David A. Cárdenas, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor
Interim Vice Provost and Associate Vice President of Global Carolina
Department: School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
Office: Osborne Administration Building
David Cárdenas headshot


Ph.D., North Carolina State University
M.S., North Carolina State University
B.S., North Carolina State University


David A. Cárdenas serves as an associate professor at the University of South Carolina in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and interim vice provost and associate vice president of Global Carolina. He also served as interim dean for the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. Cárdenas received his Ph.D. in recreation, tourism and parks management from North Carolina State University and prior to joining the faculty at USC, he was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Cárdenas has been a visiting professor in Shandong University in China, Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean in Curacao and mostly recently in Aruba with the University of Aruba. He has led several service learning study abroad trips to Ecuador, S.A. His research interests are in sustainable development, resident attitudes and tourism education. He has extensive experience working on community-based tourism planning projects in the United States and Ecuador, specifically working to engage and involve local residents in the sustainable tourism development process. His research has been published in the top-tier tourism and recreation journals such as the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Analysis, Journal of Destinations Marketing, and Journal of Leisure Research, and Journal of Sport Management and presented his work at several regional, national and international conferences. In 2012 and 2008, he received “Teacher of the Year” in his academic unit and in 2010 was inducted into Phi Beta Delta International Scholars Honor Society. 

Cárdenas was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, and speaks English and Spanish.

In the Media

Research Interests

  • Sustainable development
  • Resident attitudes
  • Tourism education


  • HRTM 280 – Foundations of Tourism
  • HRTM 481 – Analytical Techniques in Tourism and Hospitality
  • HRTM 482 – Sustainable Tourism Planning
  • HRTM 590T – Advance Sustainable Tourism Planning
  • HRTM 895 – Ph.D Graduate Seminar in Hospitality Management

Selected Research Publications

Hudson, S., So, K., Li, J., Meng, F., & Cárdenas, D. (2019). Persuading tourist to stay – forever! A destination marketing perspective. Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, 12. 105-113.

Hudson, S., So, K. K. F., Meng, F., Cárdenas, D., & Li, J. (2018). Racial discrimination in tourism: The case of African-American travellers in South Carolina. Current Issues in Tourism, 23(4), 438-451.

Qi, R., Cárdenas, D. A., Mou, X., & Hudson, S. (2018). The strategic value of advertising expenditures in the tourism and hospitality industry. Tourism Economics, 24(7), 872-888.

Hongbo, L., Cárdenas, D. A., Li, R., & Yang, Y. (2018). Perceived cultural distance and international destination choice: The role of destination familiarity, geographic distance, and cultural motivation. Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, 9, 300-309.

Cárdenas, D. A., Meng, F., Hudson, S., & Thal, K. (2017). Resident attitudes to future tourism development: "It’s a question of trust." Tourism Review International, 21(4), 417-430.

Hudson, S., Thal, K., Cárdenas, D., & Meng, F. (2017). Wellness tourism: Stress alleviation or indulging healthful habits? International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 11(1), 35-52.

Hudson, S., Cárdenas, D., Meng, F., & Thal, K. (2017). Building a place brand from the bottom up: A case study from the United States. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 23(4), 365-377.

Recent Funded Grants and Contracts

Hudson, S., Meng, F., Cardenas, D. A., & So, K. (2014). Beaufort, N.C. Development Evaluation Proposal: Analysis of Front Street Village Development Plan. Jetcraft Avionics ($9,425 - Funded).

Hudson, S., & Cárdenas , D. A. (2014). South Carolina great outdoors: Tourism and customer service training. S.C. Great Outdoors. ($2,484 – Funded).

Hudson, S., Cárdenas, D. A., & Meng, F. (2014). Study to access the potential demand for tourism on the lower Santee Cooper. Santee Cooper, Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce ($70,180 – Funded).

Hudson, S., Cárdenas, D. A., & Meng, F. (2013). Measuring Travel Effects on Education. United States Travel Association, ($54,955 – Funded).

Hudson, S., Cárdenas, D. A., & Meng, F. (2013). Increasing Tourism in 10 Economically Distressed Counties: Pee Dee Branding Project ($89,982 – Funded).

Hudson, S. Meng, F., Cárdenas. D. A., & Rawle Associates (2013). Bluffton, South Carolina brand assessment and development project 2013 ($93,100 - Funded).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.