About us





Taleb Rifai

Taleb Rifai is Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since January 2010. Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector and academia. He was Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), held several ministerial portfolios in Jordan (Planning and International Cooperation, Information and Tourism and Antiquities), CEO of Jordan’s Cement Company, Director of the Economic Mission to Washington and Director General of the Investment Promotion Corporation of Jordan. Mr. Rifai has a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Regional Planning (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia), an M.A. in Engineering and Architecture (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago), and a BS.c. in Architectural Engineering (University of Cairo in Egypt).



Naut Kusters

Naut Kusters has been a leader in promoting sustainability in tourism since 1993 when he co-founded the European Centre for Eco and Agro Tourism (ECEAT), an organisation promoting and marketing sustainable tourism among small scale rural accommodations.  In 2004 Naut co-founded the European VISIT association, uniting existing ecolabels in the accommodation sector.  In close co-operation with European tour operator associations, in 2007 Naut established the Travelife management and certification system for tour operators and travel agencies, which he still manages. Naut Kusters has a master’s degree in social forestry and environmental sciences. 




Lars Thykier

Mr. Lars Thykier has been the Managing Director of the Association of Danish Travel Agents and Tour Operators (DRF) since September 2002 and is currently the President of ECTAA. He gained extensive experience in the airline industry through working for the Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) from 1989 to 2002.

Mr. Thykier was also a member of the EU Commission’s TSG (Tourism Sustainability Group) from 2004 to 2013. He holds an M.A. in Law from the University of Copenhagen.





Rafael Schvartzman 

Rafael Schvartzman is Regional Vice President for Europe in IATA. He leads the activities of the largest region, including building strategic relationships with aviation stakeholders, advocacy for the industry on behalf of IATA’s members, implementation of new products and services, and presiding over the secure transfer of more than $70 billion in the Billing and Settlement Plan and Cargo Accounts Settlement Systems.

Rafael built his career in DHL in the Americas for 10 years and also worked for different air transport companies in South America. Graduated from the University of the Pacific in Economics, he holds a Master in Positive Leadership and Strategy in collaboration with IE Business School.