Mr. Rifai

Taleb Rifai

Secretary General

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Taleb Rifaiís background combines solid political experience and technical knowledge in the field of tourism, as well as experience in the work and functioning of International Organizations. His background also provides him with extensive economic, business and academic experience. He was elected as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at the General Assembly, Astana, Kazakhstan, in October 2009 and begun his four-year term on 1 January 2010. He assumed the functions of Secretary-General ad interim of the World Tourism Organization from 1 March 2009 and served as Deputy Secretary-General from February 2006 to February 2009.

Prior to assuming his current post, Taleb Rifai was the Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for three consecutive years. His responsibilities included the overall supervision and implementation of the International Labour Standards, as well as advising on labour markets and employment policies, particularly in the Middle East region.

From 1999 to 2003, he served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan, first, as Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in charge of Jordanís Development Agenda and bilateral and multilateral relationships with donors and agencies. He was subsequently appointed Minister of Information, in which capacity he was spokesman of the Government of Jordan and in charge of communication and public media. During his tenure, he embarked on restructuring public media and in particular the Jordan Television Network. In 2001, his portfolio was expanded to include the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity.

During his term as Minister of Tourism and Antiquity, Taleb Rifai established Jordanís first Archaeological Park in the ancient city of Petra in collaboration with UNESCO and the World Bank. He also realized several large projects in Jerash, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum. As Minister of Tourism, he was the Chairman of the Jordan Tourism Board, President of the Ammon School for Tourism and Hospitality and was elected Chairman of the Executive Council of the UNWTO in 2001.

In the three years preceding his service in the Jordanian Cabinet, he was appointed the CEO of Jordanís Cement Company, one of the countryís largest public shareholding companies with over 4,000 employees. During his term he successfully led and directed the first large-scale privatization and restructuring scheme in Jordan by bringing in the world famous French cement company Lafarge in 1998 and continued to serve as CEO under the new Lafarge management.

Mr. Rifai can be contacted at 34-91-5679-324 or trafai@unwto.org

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotelís operation that isnít touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law Ė real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott Internationalís acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important Ė the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding itís much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.