Dr. Sonya Graci: Growing the Community Benefits of Tourism

Sonya Graci
Photo by Mark Blinch

Dr. Sonya Graci
Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
2015 Research Mentor

Tourism in the South Pacific island country of Fiji isn’t just about beaches, all-inclusive hotels, and swim-up bars; the industry also has to deal with waste and sewage management, funding for sustainability initiatives, and tourism planning and development.

As a frequent traveler and Associate Professor in the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Dr. Sonya Graci is more aware than most of the impacts – both positive and potentially negative – tourism can have on a local community. How can the tourism industry shrink its negative impacts on the environment while growing its potential community benefits?

Dr. Graci is currently working with communities in Fiji – the hotel industry, indigenous community members, expats, and the government – to develop a sustainability strategy and work together for positive change.

Closer to home, Dr. Graci is also working with an indigenous community in Ontario to increase tourism in a way that is culturally appropriate and economically viable.

“I believe communities should have a say in how tourism is developed and managed and what role they wish to play. I am very interested in working with communities on their sustainability challenges and especially interested in increasing the sustainable livelihoods of indigenous peoples.”

This research profile originally appeared in Think, Act, Connect: Ted Rogers School of Management Research Report 2015. To read the full report, visit Research at the Ted Rogers School of Management.