Dr. Laura Lesar is Senior Lecturer. She holds a multi-disciplinary background in environmental studies, sustainability, and tourism. Laura’s expertise is in the practical quality control tools (“tools”) that enable tourism providers to build their sustainability and resilience, such as certification programs, sustainability indicators, net zero initiatives, adaptation strategies, capacity building training tools, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting. Through industry consultation and extensive review of international best practice, her research has produced practical outcomes for industry, including 100+ tools that tourism businesses can use to build their sustainability and resilience, a framework for tool selection, and a replicable methodology for creating customized sustainable tourism toolkits.
Also dedicated to research excellence, all Laura’s peer-reviewed research on quality control tools is published in internationally leading tourism journals of the highest ranking (A* ABDC, Top 5% SJR). She received the Early Career Researcher Excellence Award at Flinders, awarded to just one early career researcher within the multi-disciplinary College of Business, Government, and Law. Laura also serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Travel Research (A*), and received the journal’s inagural Best Reviewer Award (Early Career Reviewer) in 2023.
Laura embraces opportunities for industry engagement. She has worked on sustainability and tourism projects globally in the USA, Australia, Southeast Asia, and South America for public, private, and non-profit organisations, including Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Expedia, Hostelling International, Gemtree Wines, City and County of Honolulu, Chilean Government’s Environmental Commission, and Etheridge Shre Council. Laura has facilitated numerous academic and industry presentations, workshops, and keynotes in the USA and Australia. Among them, she was an invited Speaker for the U.S. Department of State’s East-West Professional Fellows Program, sustainable tourism Speaker and Panellist for the World Tourism Summit in Hawai’i, USA, and the Keynote Speaker at the International Conference on Tourism and Entrepreneurship.
PhD in Sustainable Tourism, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus
Masters of Science in Travel Industry Mangement, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies (Honours, thesis component), University of California, Santa Cruz
Research and Teaching Awards
Research Excellence Award for "Outstanding Achievement by an Early Career Researcher", 2021. College of Business, Government, and Law, Flinders University, AU
Teaching Award for School of Travel Industry Management (Elective Course) 2020, School of Travel Industry Management, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
Academic Awards and Achievements
-Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management -
Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship (GUPRS) for PhD
Griffith University International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (GUIPRS) for PhD
-University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Travel Industry Management-
School of Travel Industry Management "Outstanding Graduate Student Award" Recipient
School of Travel Industry Management "Department Merit Scholarship Award" Recipient
Graduate Student Organization Award Recipient for the School of Travel Industry Management
High Honours 3.95/4.0 Cumulative GPA (Masters of Science)
-University of California, Santa Cruz, Environmental Studies-
Honours in the Major
My teaching interests include sustainability and resilience, tourism, and wine business.
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