Kelly Cerialo, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Kelly Cerialo at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Marina Novelli, Committee Member, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Member, Dr. Lize Booysen, Committee Chair

Dissertation Committee

  • Lize (A.E.) Booysen, DBL, Committee Chair
  • Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Marina Novelli, Ph.D., Committee Member


tourism, sustainable tourism, social impact, UNESCO, biosphere reserve, Champlain- Adirondack Biosphere Reserve, protected areas, stakeholder theory, responsible leadership, ecosystem services

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In its most benign form, tourism is able to protect the cultural and ecological integrity of a region and to promote economic development in line with sustainability principles. Additionally, sustainable forms of tourism have the potential to improve the quality of life within the host community by promoting intergenerational equity. However, sustainable models of tourism are extremely challenging to design, implement, and manage at the community level because of competing stakeholder interests. There are significant power dynamics associated with sustainable tourism planning and management that often fail to incorporate all citizens’ voices, particularly those belonging to underprivileged backgrounds. Due to the growth of international tourism (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) and its related impacts, multinational organizations such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) continue to collaborate with member states and affiliates to identify methods to improve existing sustainable tourism strategies, discover new ones, and to address the social impacts of tourism globally. This study examines the social impacts of tourism in UNESCO’s Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve and the stakeholders’ dynamics that influence tourism planning in the region. Through an exploratory case study, this research uses media analyses, document review, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper understanding of the social impacts of tourism and the stakeholders’ dynamics related to tourism management. Stakeholder theory, responsible leadership, and ecosystem services are used as a theoretical framework to ground the inquiry and to provide insight into how the social impacts of tourism are related to tourism planning dynamics. The findings revealed significant new knowledge about social impacts of tourism in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness and a mapping of complex competing stakeholder interests related to tourism management. A conceptual model is offered to assess the social impacts of tourism in international UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


Kelly Cerialo

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0002-1568-3751

Dr. Kelly L. Cerialo is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in the Business and Hospitality Department at Paul Smith’s College. She is the Co-chair of the UNESCO Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve (New York/Vermont), a steering committee member for the U.S. UNESCO Biosphere Network, and founder/focal point for the U.S. Biosphere Reserve Youth Network. She coordinates international student exchanges with a focus on sustainable tourism and community development in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Italy, Canada, South Africa, and the U.S. She is the co-founder of the Adirondack to Appeninno Sustainable Parks and Communities Project – an international sustainable tourism initiative between the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano Biosphere Reserve in Italy and the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve. Kelly was the Director of the Global Center for Rural Communities at Paul Smith’s College, and has over a decade of experience building international sustainable development collaborations. Kelly received the David H. Chamberlain Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019 and Faculty Member of the Year at Paul Smith’s College in 2018. Kelly has presented at United Nations and UNESCO conferences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Africa. Kelly has a Master's in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, a Master's in Communication Management from the Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor's in Public Relations/Mass Media Communication from The College of New Jersey. Research interests include the social impacts of tourism in protected areas, tourism in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves governance and management, recreation overuse, youth leadership mentoring in sustainable communities, and cross-cultural communication.

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