Brian King, Ph.D., will become the new head of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University on Jan. 3.
Currently, King is associate dean and professor in the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He previously was a professor at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, where he held various faculty and university-wide roles including head of the School of Hospitality Tourism and Marketing, and pro vice-chancellor.
King has a doctoral degree from Monash University, Australia, and master’s degrees from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and from the University of Aberdeen. His areas of teaching and research focus on hospitality leadership and cultural tourism.
“Dr. King has a diverse and extensive background within experience management, especially in hospitality and tourism,” said Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D., vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “His expertise will help position the department in a way to best leverage our land-grant roots to strengthen the visitor economy and hospitality industry in Texas and embrace the rapidly growing agritourism sector.”
Combining academia with industry
Originally from Scotland, King has worked in the destination management and tourism field throughout his professional life, holding a variety of roles within the hospitality industry including those related to airlines, cruises, tour operations and hotels.
King’s background combines a unique intersection of academia with practical experience. He has provided consulting services on tourism, human resource development and marketing to international agencies, including the United Nations World Tourism Organization. He also has undertaken consulting projects for The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the European Union.
In 2012, King relocated from Australia to Hong Kong, where he subsequently consulted for the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners toward developing a Hong Kong-wide Tourism Roadmap. Prior to that, he was a lead consultant for the Australian Council of Tourism Ministers investigating the non-profit tour phenomenon related to emerging Asian markets, including China. He also consulted for the Tourism and Transport Forum in Australia on the financing of national parks and protected areas.
“This transition to Bryan-College Station is exciting to me as a scholar and educator as well as a tourism professional,” King said. “I’m looking forward to leading a world-reputed department with a group of remarkable researchers and instructors. I know we can achieve a lot by bringing together faculty resources to help mobilize the visitor economy in Texas and attract global interest and recognition.”
Stover added he was gratified King had chosen to relocate to Bryan-College Station to head the department.
“Dr. King will bring a global perspective with his research and teaching at Texas A&M, which will benefit the local, state and national tourism industry, as well as students pursuing a career in related disciplines,” he said.
Industry contributions and academic appointments
As a regular commentator to local and global media and presenter at industry conference and events, King’s work is highly cited in the top tourism and hospitality journals. His contributions to professional publications include serving as founder and joint editor-in-chief for Tourism, Culture and Communication; editorial advisory group member for Cambridge Scholars Publishing and editorial advisor for CABI Tourism Cases.
He also is an editorial board member of journals including International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, International Journal of Tourism Research, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Tourism Economics, Tourism Review and Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. As part of his industry engagements, King has also authored many best practice business and marketing cases of tourism ventures.
King is a certified hospitality educator of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and elected fellow of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, Council for Australian Universities Tourism and Hospitality Education Tourism, Tourism and Hospitality Education Internationa Centre of Excellence and International Association for China Tourism Studies.
His memberships and appointments include:
- Adjunct professor, Edith Cowan University, Australia.
- Member, Culture Promotion Committee, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
- Chair, Assessment and Accreditation Panel, Tourism and Hospitality Education International Centre for Excellence, Australia.
- Visiting professor, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland.
- Professorial Fellow, Victoria University, Australia.
King has also chaired or been a member of various academic committees and has served in leadership roles in a variety of academic positions.
Awards and honors
Indicative of his strong industry engagements, King was awarded the 2018 Qantas Outstanding Contribution by an Individual Gold Award in the Victorian Tourism Awards, Australia. He also received the 2020 Teaching Excellence Award from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in recognition of “superior classroom teaching and significant contribution to the enhancement of teaching and learning.” Additionally, he has received best paper awards from the journal Tourism Recreation Research in 2017 and in 2020.