UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai dropped a bombshell yesterday at the United Nations World Tourism Organization Executive Council Meeting.
The respected tourism leader was given a lengthy standing ovation for his diligent service to the United Nations World Tourism Organization during yesterday’s Executive Council meeting in Malaga, Spain.
According to reliable eTN sources, the secretary General put the Executive Director for Operational Programs and Institutional Relations, Márcio Favilla Lucca de Paula from Brazil, second in charge of UNWTO.
Rifai said Mr.de Paula would be taking over some important responsibilities in the leadership of UNWTO.
Mr. Rifai, however, will remain in charge of the UNWTO Secretariat until December 31, 2017, the end of his 4-year term as Secretary General.
According to eTN sources, this move may be related due to health reasons.
Taleb Rifai stressed this has nothing to do with electives issues next year in regards to UNWTO’s expected election of a new Secretary General.
Besides Zimbabwe, Morocco has also announced candidacy to the new post.
It appears second in charge of UNWTO is now Favilla Lucca de Paula.
This move was the number one talk among ministers and delegates yesterday.
From April 2007, Mr. Favilla Lucca de Paula was Vice Minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations of the Presidency of Brazil.
Between January 2010 and December 2013 he held the position of UNWTO Executive Director for Competitiveness, External Relations and Partnerships.
Prior to this appointment, he was Brazil’s first Vice Minister of Tourism (2003-2007) where he played a key role in the structuring of the first exclusive Ministry of Tourism in Brazil.
During his term as Vice Minister of Tourism he was actively involved in the development and implementation of the 1st National Tourism Plan and worked to increase both tourism arrivals into the country as well as domestic tourism.
He was also engaged in many of UNWTO’s activities as Head of the Brazilian delegation to all General Assembly and Executive Council sessions and Chairman of the UNWTO Commission for the Americas in 2006.
From 1999 to 2002 he worked at the Ministry of Development, Industry and International Trade as Head of the National Department for Business Registry among other positions.
Mr. Favilla Lucca de Paula was in Belo Horizonte from 1980 to 1998, first at the Development Bank of Minas Gerais and then the State Secretariat for Finance of Minas Gerais.
Mr. Favilla Lucca de Paula has a MA in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands, where he specialized in Regional Development Planning (1985-1986). He obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (1979).
Mr. Favilla Lucca de Paula is a Brazilian national, born in 1958.
In the meantime UNWTO responded to the initial eTN version of this article as follows:
“Mr Rifai is in charge of the UNWTO Secretariat until 31 December 2017, end of his 4 years term as Secretary General. Mr Favilla has been designated second in charge in the Secretariat.”