Press Release

The legacy of UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai recognized in Saudi Arabia

PR No.: 
PR 17107
25 Sep 17

During a recent visit to Saudi Arabia, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai, was recognized by HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), for his legacy as he approaches the end of this term at UNWTO which will come next December. 

As stated in his intervention, Taleb Rifai has made an immense contribution to the Organization  making it one of the most important bodies of the United Nations system said Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz recalling that all UNWTO Member States appreciate the historical changes achieved under the mandate of Taleb Rifai. “The benefit was for the Organization and for tourism as a global sector, which Taleb Rifai took to higher levels“ he said.

"When SCTH was dealing with many transformations, we found the UNWTO ready and willing to support us. Whenever we asked for cooperation, we found UNWTO's support and expertise". "Today, the World Tourism Organization has become one of the strongest Agencies of the United Nations in terms of efficiency and performance, and all Arab countries are very proud of the great achievements of Taleb Rifai on various levels during his mandate; all these achievements were met with great international recognition" he emphasized.

From his side, UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai mentioned ”Prince Sultan taught us a principle adopted by UNWTO: tourism is for to the people of the country first and then for visitors”.

With regard to the relevance of the tourism sector in his country, HRH Prince Sultan pointed out that SCTH focuses in the involvement of the citizens of the Kingdom to act as a major partners and advisers. "The transformation that took place in our country happened from the top to the bottom, and for SCTH, the citizen was the top target”.

“Prince Sultan has been able to develop the society's concepts about tourism, a greatest achievement as tourism promotes interaction amongst peoples besides its potential to induce economic growth. Prince Sultan gave all support to this concept and succeeded in reinforcing it as he was able to make a fundamental change, and he focused on the primary issue that a country should be first for its people and then for its visitors. People, who do not enjoy its country, cannot appreciate its value, or estimate their wealth and capabilities. This is an issue of principle in UNWTO that Prince Sultan with his wisdom and balance, has realized," mentioned Taleb Rifai.


UNWTO Media Officer Rut Gomez Sobrino

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 /

UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 /