Laura Lesar
School of Travel Industry Management
University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
2560 Campus Road George Hall 206
Honolulu, HI 96822
T (808)956-0485
F (808) 956-5378


Griffith University – 2018

Department of Tourism, Sport, and Hotel Management, Queensland, Australia
Ph.D, Sustainable Tourism

Research emphasis: Sustainable tourism quality control tools, which translate sustainable tourism concepts into practice.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa – 2012

School of Travel Industry Management, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
M.S. Travel Industry Management

Research emphasis: Sustainable tourism and certification program optimization

University of California, Santa Cruz – 2009

B.A. Environmental Studies

Research Emphasis: Ecotourism and Sustainable Development

Academic Experience

Assistant Professor
University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, School of Travel Industry Management

Professional Accreditations

Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) Consultant and Auditor

  • Type: Sustainable tourism certification (International)

Corporate Sustainability Manager (CSM)

  • Type: Certification for corporate sustainability management (International)

Teaching Subjects

  • Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism
  • Introduction to the Tourism Industry
  • Tourism Management
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Environmental Impact Assessment

International Research and Fieldwork

Utah, USA (2015)

  • Diversity and Prevalence of Quality Control Tools for Sustainable Tourism Practice

Hawaii, USA (2011-2014)

  • Visitor Experiences at Hanauma Bay nature reserve
  • Hawaii Tourism Barometer
  • Manta Ray Tourism: Conflict, Crowding, and Management
  • Participation Motives of Locals Vs. Residents in Oʻahu Open Water Swimming Events

Amazonas, Brazil: Sustainable Tourism & Ecotourism Independent Thesis Research (November 2008)

  • Analysis of ecotourism practices at Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve per TIES guidelines and principles

Santiago, Chile: Ecotourism Program Design (January-July 2008)

  • Feasibility Study: Site visit to determine ecotourism activity and program design
  • National Environmental Commission of Chile (CONAMA), Sendero de Chile

Chiang Mai, Thailand: Ecotourism and Nature Based Tourism Research (January-April 2007)

  •  Socio-cultural impacts of Tourism: Northern Hill tribe case studies
  • University of California: Wildlands Studies

Adang Island, Thailand: Ecotourism and Nature Based Tourism Research (January-April 2007)

  • Tourism impacts on coral reefs: coral reef regeneration, GPS spatial mapping, ecological interaction monitoring
  • University of California: Wildlands Studies

Sip Pan Dong, Laos: Nature Based Tourism Impacts (February 2007)

  • Tourism in the Mekong River Delta: Tourism impacts and water quality
  • University of California: Wildlands Studies

Costa Rica: Regional Ecotourism Analysis (June-August 2006)

  • Regions: Monte Verde, Tortugeuro, Arenal, Heredia
  • Exploratory Independent Research: University of California, Santa Cruz

Industry Experience

  • Sustainable Tourism Consultant and Auditor, Sustainable Travel International, Washington, DC, USA (December 2011-Present)
  • Advisor: Strategy and Innovation, Carbon Marketing Group, AU (April 2016 – December 2017)
  • Programs Director: Wellness Tourism Development and Design, Infinity Wellness, LLC., Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA
  • Manager of Hospitality, High West Distillery, Park City, Utah, USA (December 2009- August 2010)
  • Hospitality Services, Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Collection, Dakota Mountain Lodge, Park City, Utah, USA

Selected Publications

Lesar, L., Weaver, D. & Gardiner, S. (2019). “From Spectrum to Multiverse: A New Perspective on the Diversity of Quality Control Tools for Sustainable Tourism Theory and Practice. Journal of Travel Research. Published online April 22. DOI: 10.1177/00447287519841715.

Needham, M., Szuster, B., Mora, C., Lesar, L., & Anders, E. (2017). Manta ray tourism: Interpersonal and social values conflicts, sanctions and management. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 25(10), 1367-1384.

Lesar, L., Weaver, D., & Gardiner, S. (2016). A decade in the dark: An updated quality control tool framework to facilitate customised sustainable tourism practice. CAUTHE 2016: The Changing Landscape of Tourism and Hospitality: The Impact of Emerging Markets and Emerging Destinations, 148.