Alison Gill

Professor Emerita


  • PhD, University of Manitoba, 1982



I was born in Shropshire, England and received my undergraduate degree at the University of Hull, UK. I came to Canada to pursue my MA degree at the University of Alberta. Subsequently, after spending two years teaching off-campus courses in Northern Manitoba for the Inter-Universities North program, I continued on to complete my Ph.D. degree at the University of Manitoba with a thesis entitled “Residents’ Images of Northern Canadian Resource Towns”. Before coming to Simon Fraser University in 1985, I held teaching positions at Brandon University (1981-1984) and Trent University (1984-1985). I am Full Professor and have a joint appointment with the Department of Geography (75%) and the School of Resource and Environmental Management (25%) at SFU.


Teaching Interests

I teach two courses in the geography of tourism in the Department of Geography: Geography 327 (Geography of Tourism) and Geography 427 (Selected Topics in the Geography of Tourism).  In addition, I teach a graduate course in the School of Resource and Environmental Management - Community Tourism Planning (REM 652), in which graduate students in the Department of Geography may also enroll. I supervise a number of graduate students at both the MA and PhD level.


Research Interests

Throughout my career my core interests have been on understanding transformations of place.  For many years my focus has been on issues of growth and change associated with tourism destinations, especially in mountain regions.  I would generally describe myself as a socio- economic geographer.  This approach evolved from a background in socio-behavioural geography and earlier research on the planning and environmental design of new single-industry resource communities in northern Canada.  Federal funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to examine such issues as growth management, corporate-community relationships, amenity migration and evolving governance models has supported most of my research. Institutional arrangements and the politics of place are important theoretical constructs underpinning much of my work. Recently I have become interested in evolutionary economic geography as an analytical tool for understanding change and I am currently examining how the evolution of destination governance from growth dependent growth models towards ones that embrace principles of sustainability.

I am an ardent supporter of the value of a geographic education and have served a term as the President of the Canadian Association of Geographers and currently sit on the Board of Governors of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS).  I serve on the editorial boards of The Canadian Geographer and Tourism Geographies and previously the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.  As a tourism geographer, I have also benefitted from the interdisciplinary interaction that I have with colleagues conducting tourism-related research in such disciplines as economics, business, resource management, anthropology and psychology and I serve on the editorial boards of the Annals of Tourism Research and Journal of Travel Research.  I am a Fellow of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism as well as a Fellow of the RCGS.

Recent Publications

  • Gill, A.M. (2012) Travelling down the road to postdisciplinarity? Reflections of a tourism geographer.  The Canadian Geographer / Le Geographe canadien, 56(1): 3-17.
  • Dwyer, L; Gill, A. & Setaram, N. (eds )(2012) Handbook of Research Methods in Tourism: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches,  Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar 514 p.
  • Gill, A.M. (2012) Shifting the discourse from growth to sustainability: New approaches in governance in resort destinations. In Andreas Kagermeier & Jarkko Saarinen (Eds.) Transforming and Managing Destinations: Tourism and Leisure in a Time of Global Change and Risks Mannheim, Germany. pp 345-352.
  • Williams, P.W., Gill, A.M., Marcoux, J. & Xu, N. (2012) Nurturing “social license to operate” through corporate-civil society relationships in tourism destinations. In C. Hsu & W. Gartner (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Research London: Routledge, pp196-214.
  • Gill, A.M (2011) Mountain ‘resort communities’ as an element of regional development: Lessons from British Columbia’s transitioning economy . In S. Janschitz, G.K. Lieb, and U. Strasser, eds., Nachhaltigkeit - Regionalentwicklung - Tourismus. Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Friedrich M. Zimmermann. Grazer Schriften der Geographie und Raumforschung Band 46. Graz. pp 285-294.
  • Gill. A.M. & Williams, P.W. (2011) Rethinking resort growth: Understanding evolving governance strategies in Whistler, British Columbia. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 19(4–5): 629–648.
  • Gill, A.M. (2010) Finding my place: Journeys of a tourism geographer. In S. Smith (ed) The Discovery of Tourism. Bingley, UK: Emerald Press, pp.17-32.
  • Gill, A.M. (2010) “Gender, resource management and neoliberal policies: Examples from British Columbia”. Guest statement in B. Mitchell (ed) Resource Management in Canada 4th Edition. Don Mills, Ont: Oxford University Press pp. 595-596
  • Gill, A. M. (2008) Sustainability and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver/Whistler: Issues of sustainability in protected and back country areas. Etudes Canadiennes 62: 171-180.
  • Gill, A.M. and Welk, E. (2009) Coastal resort planning: the case of Tofino.  In R. Dowling and C. Pforr (eds.) Coastal Tourism Development - Planning and Management Issues New York: Cognizant Communications.
  • William, P. & Gill, A.M. (2007) Corporate social responsibility at tourism destinations: Towards a social license to operate. Tourism Review International, 11(2): 133-144.
  • Clark, T., Gill, A. & Hartmann, R. (eds) (2006) Mountain Resort Planning and Development in an Era of Globalization. Elmsford, NY: Cognizant Communication, 348 p.
  • Williams, P. & Gill, A.M. (2006) A research agenda for tourism amenity migration destinations. Tourism Recreation Research 31(1): 92-98.
  • Gill, A.M., Kriwoken L., Dobson, S. and Fallon, L. (2006) “The challenges of integrating tourism into Canadian and Australian coastal zone management” Dalhousie Law Journal 26(1): 85-147


This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.