Dr.Mihee Kang is Director Asia-Pacific, Global Sustainable Tourism Council(GSTC) and manages all GSTC programs and activities in Asia-Pacific region. She also serves GSTC as the Accreditation Panel member, trainer, and destination assessor.
She voluntarily takes a position of President of Playforest, a cooperative of sustainable travel businesses designed to benefit local communities and local activists dedicated to the conservation of their forests and to provide genuine community-based natural tourism experiences to the visitors.
She was a research professor at Seoul National University, researching topics related to protected areas management and sustainable tourism. She has actively participated in numerous tourism development and protected area management projects in Korea and abroad since she got her Ph.D. degree at Seoul National University in 1999.
She is acknowledged as a top expert in Asia- Pacific on certification for sustainable tourism, called upon regularly by top government ministries, local authorities, NGO’s, etc. for research and guidance on standards, certification, and compliance. Since 2002 she has worked on introducing and developing the Korean ecotourism certification program that uses GSTC-recognized standards. She was also in charge of the development of Korean Sustainable City Tourism Standard that also got GSTC-recognized and the development of Chinese Rural Tourism Standard.
She has published many books and research articles and keeps her academic career with lectures and researches.
Geoff Hyde has a M.Sc. in Tourism Planning and Development Economics and a B.A. in Planning. He is the Managing Director and Principal Consultant of Sustainable Tourism International Ltd. that specialises in small island development and dedicated to the principles of sustainable tourism as a tool for socio-economic development. Geoff has spent 25 years living and working in the South Pacific, and 30 years of experience working as a planner, project manager, technical adviser, investment and market analyst, consultant, and industry trainer. He has completed more than 170 project assignments in 18 countries, particularly in developing countries including assignments for the World Bank, ADB, COMSEC, UNWTO, AUSAID, NZAID and the European Union. Geoff has assisted and advised on the national tourism development plans for the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Recent examples of his work include writing the Vanuatu Sustainable Cruise Tourism Strategy, implementing the Vanuatu Strategic Tourism Action Plan and undertaking a Feasibility Study of Air Charters from the Asian Markets Federated States of Micronesia. Geoff is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and a Professional Member of the International Development Executive Group.
Geraldine Tari has over ten years’ experience in private industry, working for high profile brands including Vanuatu Inbound Travel, the Holiday Inn Resort, The Grand Hotel and Casino, Palms Resort and Casino, and Le Meridian Port Vila Resort. In these organisations, she has worked with domestic and international corporate and leisure markets; and has been employed as a business development executive, sales and marketing executive, conference and events coordinator, and as a customer service manager and trainer. After completing a degree in Tourism Management from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, Geraldine was appointed as the Principal Accreditation Officer in the Department of Tourism, Vanuatu in 2018. With her breadth of experience, she brings an important skill set to the role that combines pragmatic action with strategic thinking. Geraldine is also a fulltime mother, and when not thinking about how to improve Vanuatu tourism or her family’s wellbeing, she enjoys music, food and photography.
Jerry Spooner’s career started in the field of finance, working variously as an account, controller and literacy trainer with organisations such as the Cook Island Bank, the Cook Island Investment and Promotions Board, and the Vanuatu National Audit Board. He then moved into the field of tourism as an owner-operator of a car hire company and a safari tour business before joining the Vanuatu Department of Tourism as the Principal Accreditation Officer. Jerry’s professional and academic qualifications reflect his mix of financial and tourism interests, and include certificates in customer service and management learning, a diploma and bachelor degree in commerce, and a partially completed Master’s degree in International Tourism and Hotel Management.
Jerry was recently appointed as the Director of Tourism in the government of Vanautu. Under his leadership, the Department has embarked on an ambitious program of building government tourism policy around the principles of economic viability, social acceptability and environmental responsibility. Elements of these principles are embedded in documents including the Vanuatu Product Classification Standards, the Tourism Accreditation System, and the Sustainable Tourism Policy. In development of these policies, Jerry has had to negotiate the challenge of working with organisations that range from provincial government offices and small indigenous businesses with limited understanding of business practice and international tourism, to globally based NGOs and multi-national corporations with substantial experience and influence. While he admits to being a work in progress, his commitment to forging a home grown model of tourism planning and development that is customised to the needs of Vanuatu culture and kastom, and that balances the needs of divergent stakeholders, remains a driving force behind his thinking.