Dr. Taleb Rifai was born in 1949. He is a Jordanian economist who was the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) based in Madrid, Spain, until December 31, 2017, having held the post since being unanimously elected in 2010 in Zambia/Zimbabwe at the UNWTO General Assembly.
Dr. Taleb Rifai was elected as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization at the General Assembly in Astana, Kazakhstan, held in October 2009 at which time he began his 4-year term on January 1, 2010.
He assumed the functions of Secretary-General ad interim of the World Tourism Organization from March 1, 2009 and served as Deputy Secretary-General from February 2006 to February 2009.
Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector, and academia. Prior to joining UNWTO, he was the Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Mr. Rifai has also served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan – Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Information, and Minister of Tourism and Antiquity.
Co-nominator: Mzamane Nhlapo, Lesotho: He is the driving force in the African Tourism Board, to ensure the success of domestic and international tourism in Africa, and to connect Africa to the world. This will have immense economic benefits to Africa.