North Africa and Levant tourism

08 December 2009

The six leading figures in the tourism industry in North Africa, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are: Mohammed Boussaid, Mohamed Zoheir Garranah, Maha Khatib, Ammar Mabrouk el-Tayef, Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa and Fadi Abboud

Mohammed Boussaid

Position: Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, Morocco

Biography: Mohammed Boussaid was appointed Tourism Minister in October 2007. He is a civil engineer, having graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris (ENPC) in 1986. Boussaid has a master’s degree in business administration from the School of International Management at ENPC. After leaving university, he spent six years with the Commercial Bank of Morocco, where he became director of the real estate and tourism in the credit department. In 1995, Boussaid transferred to the public sector, initially working at the Agriculture, Equipment & Environment Ministry. He moved on to the Finance & Privatisation Ministry and from 2004 to 2007 was responsible for modernising the public sector. Boussaid oversees Morocco’s Vision 2010 to attract 10 million tourists compared with 5.5 million in 2005.

Contact: (+212) 820 000 04

Mohamed Zoheir Garranah

Position: Tourism Minister, Egypt

Biography: Mohamed Zoheir Garranah holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hotel management and has more than 25 years’ experience in the tourism industry. Much of his career has been with the family-owned Garranah Group, of which he owns the tour division. The group acts as a tour operator, resorts manager and transport company. Garranah has worked in a variety of roles at the family company, from junior tour operator to vice-president and chairman. In December 2005, Garranah was appointed Tourism Minister. He still owns Garranah Tours, but stepped down as chairman in the company before accepting his cabinet post. He served as first assistant to the former tourism minister in 2004 and previously sat on the boards of the Egyptian Travel Agencies Association and the General Authority for Investment and was a member of the Economic Committee of the National Democratic Party.

Contact Tel: (+202) 6841707

Maha Khatib

Position: Tourism & Antiquities Minister, Jordan

Biography: Maha Khatib has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Jordan and a master’s degree in public administration from the American University of Beirut. After university she taught at a community college in Jordan. From December 2000 to April 2007, she was director -general of the Jordan River Foundation, a non-profit body chaired by Queen Rania Al-Abdullah that supports community programmes. In April 2007, she was appointed adviser to Queen Rania. She has served as national programme director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, national project manager for the Women in Development Project of the German Technical Co-operation Agency and director of the Public Sector Reform Programme. In 2008,  Khatib announced a cut in the tax on hotel room sales from 14 per cent to 8 per cent.

Contact Tel: (+962) 64603360

Ammar Mabrouk el-Tayef

Position: Secretary General of Tourism & Antiquities, Libya

Biography: Ammar Mabrouk el-Tayef graduated from university with a law degree in 1975. He spent several years working as a judge before moving into the media sector, where he worked in TV and print journalism. He chaired the Secretariat for Monitoring & Inspection of the Public Administration for 10 years and was appointed deputy secretary in charge of service affairs in September 2001. Tourism is a key area of investment for Libya, and El-Tayef has identified infrastructure investment in airports, roads and hotels as the priority for the next decade. The country is aiming to boost visitor numbers to about 5 million by 2015 from around 40,000 last year. There are plans to increase the number of hotel beds in the country from 2,000 to 100,000 by 2020. The government has also amended legislation to make it easier for visitors to gain access to the country.

Contact Tel: (+218) 333 6452

Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa

Position: Tourism Minister, Syria

Biography: Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa is overseeing Syria’s attempts to revive its tourism industry and make the sector a central pillar of the national economy and an engine of regional development. In November, Al-Qalaa called for the development and protection of Syria’s traditional craft and manufacturing industries, identifying them as a key part of the country’s attraction to tourists. Syria is investing in improving and expanding tourism infrastructure in a bid to boost annual visitor numbers to 12 million by 2014. Since 2002, the Tourism Ministry has staged the Silk Road Festival, an event promoting the country, to which international and regional media are invited in an effort to raise Syria’s profile as a holiday destination. In 2009, Syria expects a 10 per cent rise in visitor numbers to 6 million, despite the -global financial crisis. Al-Qalaa has a doctorate in civil engineering.

Contact Tel: (+963) 2210122

Fadi Abboud

Position: Tourism Minister, Lebanon

Biography: Fadi Abboud was appointed Toursim Minister in November after the formation of the country’s new government. He replaced Elie Marouni. On his appointment, Abboud said he expected a 20 per cent rise in visitors to Lebanon. He also identified the upgrade of Beirut’s Rafiq Hariri airport as a priority. Abboud is an industrialist and runs two businesses set up by his family: General Packaging Industries Lebanon, of which he is president; and General Machines & Metal Processing Company, where he is a director. Abboud is also president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, a member of the Young President’s Organisation and a member of the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce. Abboud also sits on the board of trustees of the Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, a non-profit organisation that promotes entrepreneurship among the less privileged.

Contact Tel: (+961) 1340940

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