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.
Director of Department of Tourism
Palais am Funkturm, ITB Convention Awards