- The former Secretary-General of the UNWTO Dr. Taleb Rifai, who was calling in from Jordan today, shared sad news during a Virtual Conference today for the African Tourism Board.
- Considered a Giant in the Travel and Tourism Industry, Mr. Akel Beltaji from Jordan passed today after his battle with COVID-19. Mr. Beltaji was 80 years old, born in Gaza in February 1941
- Mr. Balatji was a big supporter of Peace Through Tourism and an advocate in the fight against climate change.
Dr. Rifai called Mr. Baltaji a wonderful man and close friend. Dr. Rifai became minister of Tourism for Jordan after Mr. Baltaji’s term ended.
The late Mr. Baltaji was appointed by the Jordanian government as mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality from September 2013 and served until August 2017. He has occupied several positions over the course of his life, in Royal Jordanian Airlines and most famously as Minister of Tourism and tourism adviser to King Abdullah II and as chief of Aqaba’s city council. From 2002 to 2004 he was the first Chief Commissioner of the newly-created Aqaba Special Economic Zone.
- From 1962-67 he served as the Assistant Business Manager for Arabian American Oil
- From 1967-69 he was a representative for government relations for the Defence Ministry in Saudi Arabia
- He joined Royal Jordanian Airlines in 1969
- From 1977-78 he was President of Executive Charter Jet Services
- From 1978 -97 he served as Senior Vice President for Arab Wings
- From 1997-2001 he was the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for Jordan
- in 2001 he was appointed as Chief Commissioner for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority
- He served from 2004-05 as the Advisor to King Abdullah II.
- Since 2005 he was Senator and Chairman for the Tourism and Heritage Committee, Vice Chairman, Red-Med Region, American Tourism Society.
- He received the Highest Jordan Orders, the Austrian Grand GOld Merit, the French Grand Maitre de la Legion d’Honbeur, the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, French Commandeur de la Legion d’ Honeur, Gran Cruz Spain, Odre National du Merite.
In November 2008 Mr. Beltaji gave this interview with eTurboNews saying: From Peace through tourism, Jordan expands religious tourism.
The Founder and Chairman of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, Louis D’Amore issued a statement today saying: ” IIPT deeply regrets the passing of Akel Beltaji who has been a strong supporter of IIPT since our Global Summit in Jordan in 2000, when he was the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan our deepest regrets and prayers to his families and loved ones.”
Deep regrets were shared by many senior members of the global travel and tourism world, including Cuthbert Ncube, Chairman of the African Tourism Board, and Juergen Steinmetz, founder of the World Tourism Network, who organized today’s ATB conference.