Lina Xiong (熊丽娜), Ph.D.

Dr. Lina Xiong is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. She is also often referred to as “Dr. Bear” because her last name in Chinese means “bear”. Lina came to the U.S. in 2006 for graduate school in University of Delaware from mainland China. Lina completed her Ph.D. in Business Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia in 2013. Her dissertation titled “Employee brand internalization: the central route to a brand aligned workforce” has received a Highly Commended Award of the 2014 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards in the Hospitality Management category. 

At CSU, Dr. Lina Xiong teaches tourism marketing and management courses. Her research areas include internal branding, service marketing, and destination marketing. These areas emphasize an internal stakeholder perspective in building a sustainable competitive advantage through internal branding among tourism employees at the micro-level as well as destination residents at the macro-level. This research focus is critical for tourism organizations because a unique service brand experience can only be achieved through employees who are motivated to meet customers’ prior brand expectations through their brand-aligned attitudes, behaviors, manners, Similarly, residents at destinations play a critical role in substantiating tourists’ prior destination expectations. She has published many articles in top tourism and hospitality journals including International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Travel Research, European Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, etc. 


David Knight, Ph.D.

Dubbed “Mr. Positivity” (but without the coffee mug to prove it), Dr. David W. Knight has developed a unique transnational skill set in tourism research and education while living and working in the U.S., Spain, the Philippines, Peru, and China. He has worked with esteemed collaborators to publish research in several of the world’s top tourism journals, exploring and informing linkages between tourism and development with a focus on community empowerment, poverty alleviation, and destination resilience.

David’s projects analyze diverse natural resource tourism issues for organizations operating from local to international levels. Findings from past efforts have informed destination development pertaining to National Parks, Chinese tourist behavior, marine protected areas, UNESCO World Heritage sites (e.g., Machu Picchu), and institutional fortification (e.g., indigenous tourism associations, international business operations, etc.).

As a Center for Collaborative Conservation Fellow, David is trained in participatory methods including a team-based, ethnographic approach known as Rapid Qualitative Inquiry (RQI). This methodology helps “outsiders” (e.g., government officials, business leaders, researchers, etc.) collaboratively engage stakeholders in potentially sensitive research processes. These processes include forming and leading research teams, conducting interviews while embracing community voices/rhythms, collaboratively analyzing data, and disseminating hard-copy and digitized results in multiple languages (e.g., Spanish and English) and in collaboration with project partners (e.g., government leaders, communities, and international tour operators). 

Based in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University, David is the Director of Engagement for the Master of Tourism Management-China program and co-Director of the U.S.-China Tourism Lab for Destination Development and Well-Being alongside his venerable colleague, Dr. Lina Xiong.

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