Contributor Profile

Dr Taleb Rifai

Job TitleChairman of IIPT International Advisory Board

Company NameSpecial Advisor for ATTA


Taleb Rifai was the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization  heading the (UNWTO) since 2009 for two consecutive terms, ending in January 2018. Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector and academia.

Before his election as Secretary General of the UNWTO, he was Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), based in Geneva .

Prior to assuming his responsibilities as an International public servant ( 2004 - 2018 ) in Beirut, Geneva, ( ILO ) and Madrid ( UNWTO ), Mr Rifai held several Ministerial portfolios in the Government of The HK of Jordan (1999 - 2004). First as Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, then in 2000 , Minister of Information and spokesman for the Government and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities. As Minister of information, he led the major restructuring of Jordan Television (JTV).

Prior to his ministerial responsibilities , Mr Rifai was CEO of Jordan’s Cement Company ( 1997 - 1999). As CEO of Jordan’s Cement Company, he successfully led the first large-scale privatization and restructuring scheme in Jordan during the 1990’s.

From 1995 to 1997 he was the first Director General of the newly established Investment Promotion Corporation of Jordan, after having served from 1993 to 1995 as the Director of the newly established Economic Mission of Jordan to the USA in Washington DC.

As an Architect and Urban planner, Mr. Rifai’s career for 20 years (1973 - 1993) was in Academia. As such he had the opportunity to teach at universities both in the USA and Jordan, where he helped establish the  first Department of Architecture in Jordan at the newly established School of Engineering at the University of Jordan and consequently became the Director of  “The Center of Consultations and Studies”  at the University of Jordan.

Mr Rifai has a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA,  1982, an M.A. in Engineering and Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology,  IIT in Chicago, USA, 1979, and a BS.c. in Architectural Engineering from. the University of Cairo in Egypt 1973.

Taleb Rifai is a Jordanian, born on January 15 , 1949 in Cairo, Egypt. He is married to Nisrine Shawwa. They have 5 children: Nadine, Zeina, Zuhair, Hamzah and Sara.


Conference Sessions

  • Destination-Smart For a Healthy Future in Adventure Travel

    Monday13:00 - 13:454 Nov 2019
    Middle East & Africa Inspiration Zone

    In today’s adventure travel industry, we are faced with complexities that require a change in the way we build destination brands, manage tourism growth and del...

    • Language: English
  • Peace: The Key to Sustainable Tourism Success

    Tuesday16:00 - 17:005 Nov 2019
    Press Conference Theatre- International Media Centre

    Today, more than ever, there's an urgent need to bring to the fore the role that tourism can - and should - play in the quest for peace. A virtuous circle exist...

    • Language: English
  • WTM China Tourism Forum

    Tuesday16:15 - 17:005 Nov 2019
    Asia Inspiration Zone

    According to UNWTO, Chinese visitors are the highest spenders in overseas travelling spending twice as much as Americans, three times that of Germans, four time...

    • Language: English