Najib Balala
Secretary of Tourism, Kenya

Honorable Najib Balala, EGH, was born in 1967 and is trained in International Urban Management at the University of Toronto, Canada. He underwent the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  


Hon Balala was re-appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife by H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, CGH, President of the Republic of Kenya in 2017, having served as a Cabinet Secretary for various Ministries (Cabinet Secretary for Tourism (2015-2017), Cabinet Secretary for Mining (2013-2015) Minister for Tourism (2008-2012). During his tenure in the Ministry for Mining, he engineered the drafting of the Draft Mining Bill in 2014, the first policy and institutional framework review of Kenya’s mining sector since 1940. Hon. Balala served simultaneously as Member of Parliament for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa,  

Hon Balala is the Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for Africa a position he served earlier in 2011.  He was voted Best Tourism Minister in Africa in 2009 by Africa Investor (AI). 

He is credited with steering Kenya’s tourism sector to recovery following the crisis period following various Terrorism attacks between 2007-2015 and the postelection violence in 2008. He played a significant role in boosting Tourism growth and stability in Kenyan and Africa regional tourism sector. He works closely with private and institutional investors, conservation and regional development agencies to ensure that the economic potential of Tourism and Wildlife sectors was both prudently and sustainably managed.

Hisham Zaazou
Z Solutions for Development and Tourism Advisory, Egypt

Z solutions is a leading international tourism, recreation and conservation consulting business. For over 25 years, we have engaged with businesses, governments and communities to enhance people’s lives and the places they live through sustainable tourism, recreation and conservation development.

Hisham Zaazou

Former Minister of Tourism of Egypt

Zaazou, started his career in Banking (Citi Bank Cairo) after his graduation in 1976 from the faculty of commerce – Ain- Shams University, traveled to the USA (Los Angeles) 1980 to start his career in tourism by joining R&H Voyages, a tour operator specialized in the Middle East.

After a successful Career in the private sector, both as an international tour operator ( USA ) and as professional ground handler (in Egypt ), culminated his private sector as the Executive Director of Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF).  Zaazou joined the Government as Assistant Minister of tourism in 2007 promoted to senior Assistant Minister of tourism in 2009 (Being the first to assume this position in the history of the ministry of tourism).

Zaazou became Minister of Tourism of Egypt in 2012 till 2016 and served as Tourism Minister under three presidents and four prime ministers.

www.zsolutions.online PH : +201060805763 h.zaazou@zsolutions.online


Dr. Taleb Rifai
Patron, Jordan

General of the  United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)  based in Madrid, Spain, until December 31, 2017, having held the post since being unanimously elected in 2010.

Dr. Taleb Rifai was elected as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization at the General Assembly in Astana, Kazakhstan, held in October 2009 at which time he began his 4-year term on January 1, 2010.

He assumed the functions of Secretary-General ad interim of the World Tourism Organization from March 1, 2009 and served as Deputy Secretary-General from February 2006 to February 2009.

Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector, and academia. Prior to joining UNWTO, he was the Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Mr. Rifai has also served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan – Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Information, and Minister of Tourism and Antiquity.

As CEO of Jordan’s Cement Company, Mr. Rifai successfully led the first large-scale privatization and restructuring scheme in Jordan during the mid-1990s.

Other positions he has held include Director of the Economic Mission to Washington DC and Director General of the Investment Promotion Corporation of Jordan. Until 1993, Mr. Rifai was involved in research, teaching, and practicing architecture and urban design in Jordan and the USA.

He has a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, an M.A. in Engineering and Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, and a BS.c. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Cairo in Egypt.


Lilly Ajarova
Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is mandated by the Tourism Act, [2008] to undertake the following;

To formulate, in cooperation and in consultation with the private sector and relevant entities, a marketing strategy for tourism in Uganda.
ii. To implement the marketing strategy and to promote Uganda as an attractive and sustainable tourist destination.
iii. To encourage and promote domestic tourism within Uganda.
iv. To encourage investment in the tourism sector and wherever possible, to direct such investment to the less developed tourism areas.
v. To promote and sponsor educational programmes and training in the tourism sector including schools, in consultation and cooperation with appropriate entities.
vi. To undertake and commission appropriate research in the field of tourism.
vii. In consultation with or as directed by the Minister, to delegate to local governments the responsibilities related to tourism commensurate with their functions set out in the Local Governments Act.


Contact: Lilly Ajarova,
Chief Executive Officer
​ceo@utb.go.ug +256414322196

Honorable Edmund Bartlett
Minister of Tourism, Jamaica

Recognized for his wide-ranging expertise and accomplishments in the political arena, Honourable Edmund Bartlett has given over thirty-five years of service to Jamaica, working in both chambers of Jamaica’s Parliament – the Senate and House of Representatives.

Mr. Bartlett was first appointed Minister of Tourism in 2007, serving until December 2011. Prior to this appointment, he already had a solid track record of service as an outstanding legislator in central government in both Chambers of Parliament. He served as Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and Culture in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth, Sports & Community Development from 1980 to 1989; later he served as Senator and Opposition Spokesman on various portfolios, including Tourism, from 1989 to 2007. While serving in the shadow Cabinet following his first stint as Tourism Minister, Mr. Bartlett traveled the world forging alliances with strategic partners for global initiatives. He returned to the helm of the Ministry of Tourism following the February 2016 victory at the polls by the Jamaica Labour Party.

Beyond the duties of his assigned portfolio, Minister Bartlett has continually championed the advancement of education, skills training and job creation as ways of improving the lives of his constituents in East Central St. James. He is passionate about education and so his efforts have been about creating scholarships for both students and teachers, thus raising the bar for educational achievements. He has also worked tirelessly to improve the welfare of the elderly and disabled in his constituency.

Mr. Bartlett has also represented Jamaica regionally and internationally and currently chairs the Board of Affiliate Members of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). He is the first person to serve on the executive of both the public and private sector arms of this prestigious organization. During his first tenure as Tourism Minister, he served as Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of the UNWTO, representing the Americas. He also served as Vice President for the 19th General Assembly of the UNWTO held in South Korea in 2011.

A graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he majored in accounting, he has worked at the senior management level in the areas of marketing and sales as well as accounting, for major multi-national companies operating in Jamaica, prior to entering elective politics.

Minister Bartlett has been married for over 35 years and has two children. His passions include cricket, dominoes and dancing. At work and at play, he lives by the words of Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero:

“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own creative genius we make ourselves what we want to be.

Follow always that great law: Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.”


World Travel Awards
Graham Cooke, UK

Mr. Graham Cooke is the founder and president of World Travel Awards. World Travel Awards™ was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Today, the World Travel Awards™ brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence.

World Travel Awards™ celebrates its 25th anniversary year in 2018. Its annual programme is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the global industry. Each year World Travel Awards™ covers the globe with its Grand Tour – a series of regional gala ceremonies to recognise excellence within each continent, culminating in a Grand Final at the end of the year.

World Travel Awards™ gala ceremonies are regarded as milestone events in the industry calendar, attended by the industry’s key decision makers and figure heads, as well as key trade and consumer media. The programme, its winners and its sponsors are represented globally on social media, with fresh daily content featured on six platforms and in 10 languages, including Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Arabic.

In 2018, World Travel Awards™ Grand Tour features regional gala ceremonies in the Middle East (Ras Al Khaimah, UAE), Europe (Athens, Greece), Asia & Australasia (Hong Kong), Latin America (Guayaquil, Ecuador), Africa & the Indian Ocean (Durban, South Africa) and North America & the Caribbean (Jamaica). Regional winners then compete for head to head in the corresponding world categories. The winners will be announced on the night of the World Travel Awards™ Grand Final in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2018. https://www.worldtravelawards.com

Dr. Peter Tarlow
SaferTourism, USA

Dr. Peter E. Tarlow is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and tourism and economic development.  Since 1990, Tarlow has been aiding the tourism community with issues such as travel safety and security, economic development, creative marketing, and creative thought.

Tarlow has worked with numerous US government agencies including the US Bureau of Reclamation, US Customs, the FBI, the US Park Service, the Department of Justice, the Speakers Bureau of the US Department of State, the Center for Disease, US Supreme Court police, and the US Department of Homeland Security.  He has worked with such US iconic locations as the Statue of Liberty, Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and Liberty Bell, the Empire State Building, St. Louis’ arch, and the Smithsonian’s Institution’s Office of Protection Services in Washington, DC.

Tarlow has been a keynote speaker for governors’ tourism conferences around the nation including those for Illinois, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington State and Wyoming.

He has addresses large-scale US government meetings for such agencies as:

  • The Bureau of Reclamation
  • The US Center for Disease Control
  • The US Park Service,
  • The International Olympic Committee

On the international scene he has addressed conferences such as:

  • The Organization of American States (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Panama City, Panama),
  • The Latin American Hotel Association (Quito Ecuador, San Salvador, El Salvador and Puebla, Mexico),
  • The Caribbean Chiefs of Police Association (Barbados),
  • The International Organization for Security and Intelligence – IOSI  ((Vancouver, Canada),
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottowa
  • The French Hotel Association CNI-SYNHORCAT (Paris)

Additionally, Tarlow is a featured speaker for numerous US embassies and with foreign tourism ministries around the world. For example, in his role as an expert in tourism security he has worked with:

  • Vancouver’s Justice Institute  (2010 Olympic games)
  • The police departments of the state of Rio de Janeiro (2014 World Cup Games)
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police,
  • The United Nation’s WTO (World Tourism Organization),
  • The Panama Canal Authority,
  • Police forces in Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Curaçao, Colombia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Serbia, and Trinidad & Tobago.

In 2013 the Chancellor of the Texas A&M system named him his Special Envoy.  In 2015 the Faculty of Medicine of Texas A&M University asked Tarlow to “translate” his tourism skills into practical courses for new physicians.  As such he teaches courses in customer service, creative thinking and medical ethics at the Texas A&M medical school

In 2016 the international engineering firm Gannet-Fleming appointed Tarlow its Senior Security and Safety Specialist  Also in 2016, Governor Gregg Abbot of Texas named Tarlow as the Chairman of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. As such he has wide experience in dealing with protest marches and other public events that touch upon that theme.

Tarlow organizes tourism security conferences around the world, including the International Tourism Safety Conference in Las Vegas along with conferences in St. Kitts, Charleston (South Carolina), Bogota, Colombia, Panama City, Croatia, and Curaçao

Tarlow lectures and trains tourism professionals and security personnel in multiple languages on a wide range of current and future trends in the tourism industry, rural tourism economic development, the gaming industry, issues of crime and terrorism, the role of police departments in urban economic development, and international trade.  Some of the other topics about which he speaks are: the sociology of terrorism, its impact on tourism security and risk management, the US government’s role in post terrorism recovery, and how communities and businesses must face a major paradigm shift in the way they do business.

Tarlow publishes extensively in these areas and writes numerous professional reports for US governmental agencies and for businesses throughout the world.  He has been asked to be an expert witness in courts throughout the United States on matters concerning tourism security and safety, and issues of risk management.

As a well-known author in the field of tourism security, Tarlow is a contributing author to multiple books on tourism security, and publishes numerous academic and applied research articles regarding issues of security including articles published in The Futurist, the Journal of Travel Research and Security Management.  Tarlow’s wide range of professional and scholarly articles includes articles on subjects such as: “dark tourism”, theories of terrorism, and economic development through tourism, religion and terrorism and cruise tourism.  Tarlow also writes and publishes the popular on-line tourism newsletter Tourism Tidbits read by thousands of tourism and travel professionals around the world in its English, Spanish, and Portuguese language editions.

Among the books that Tarlow has authored are:

  • Event Risk Management and Safety (2002).
  • Twenty Years of Tourism Tidbits: The Book (2011)
  • Abordagem Multdisciplinar dos Cruzeiros Turísticos (co-written 2014, in Portuguese)
  • Tourism Security: Strategies for Effective Managing Travel Risk and Safety (2014)
  • A Segurança: Um desafío para os setores de lazer, viagens e turismo, 2016 published (in Portuguese) and republished in English
  • Sports Travel Security  (2017)

At numerous universities around the world Tarlow lectures on security issues, life safety issues, and event risk management. These universities include institutions in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East.  Tarlow earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Texas A&M University.  He also holds degrees in history, in Spanish and Hebrew literatures, and in psychotherapy.

Tarlow has appeared on national televised programs such as Dateline: NBC and on CNBC and is a regular guest on radio stations around the US.   He is the recipient of the International Chiefs of Police highest civilian honor in recognition for his work in tourism security.

Tarlow is a founder and president of Tourism & More Inc. (T&M).  He is a past president of the Texas Chapter of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA).  Tarlow is a member of the International Editorial Boards around the world.

Greg Bakunzi
Red Rock Initiative, Rwanda

Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Cultural Center in Rwanda joined the Board of the African Tourism Board

In February 2019 Rwanda has once again featured on the global tourism and conservation map when Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Cultural Center, stepped in to claim another award during the 10th Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa (INVESTOUR) awards. The event was organized jointly by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), FITUR, and Casa Africa.

Greg Bakunzi Statement to ATB Members:

It is with great honor and appreciation that I thank you for this great opportunity to be a productive part of the African tourism board, I truly appreciate the courtesy you have extended to me. Thank you again for your confidence in me. I am looking forward to beginning my work as a part of your organization. My journey in tourism and community development spans over 15 years and as a newly appointed board member of the ATB am excited to bring my expertise and knowledge to support further implementation of the objectives of the African Tourism Board.

I started back in 2001 as a tour guide, and eventually founded my company Amahoro Tours which has grown since back in 2008 I saw my business growing to a level that I was proud of. After that, in 2011, I thought I should do something else without giving up Amahoro Tours, that’s when I came up with Red Rocks Rwanda as a cultural center, which is which now works with Red Rocks initiative for Sustainable Development, a non-profit organization operating in Africa working with individuals and groups to encourage, support, and celebrate more sustainable actions through creating awareness of Global warming and also ending the use of plastic seed bags, thus preserving our natural resources and cultural heritage with the purpose of promoting tourism and environmental conservation as the leading sustainable community empowerment tool to uplift the socio-economic status of our members.

Am looking forward to using my capacity as an advocate for responsible tourism that benefits the surrounding communities and areas through providing jobs and ensuring that we understand what challenges communities face and how to overcome them by using their abilities as a base for finding sustainable solutions According to a report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the travel industry will double in the next 5 years, generating trillions annually and as part of my personal strategy is to position our destinations as travelers favorites, by agreeing  with the belief that prioritizing sustainability in the tourism sector means people and economies will in general greatly benefit because of globally the African continent has much more exciting and abundant natural attractions to offer travelers.

It is against this background that I will use my platform to encourage others to fully understand that we need to shape up or change our mindsets and acknowledge the fact that community and tourism is beneficial to the development of our travel destinations As a passionate community development advocate, am pleased to let you know that Red Rocks has been given international awards for the work we have been doing. Most recently Red Rocks were selected as one of the best community tourism organizations in Rwanda by the Chamber of Tourism. We have been also been awarded by the United Nations as one of the best tourism initiative organizations in #Africa and Green Destination Travel has given us a certificate for Best Green Destination Travel Area.

In my opinion, my biggest achievements are different events and conferences I have attended around the world. These events show me that there is actually a lot more to do than what I did. The best part of the conference is where I pick something and share with other people in the same industry and my plans are to use Red Rocks in the future and I want it to be one of the best ecotourism destinations in the region and on the continent I understand that this task comes with responsibilities and am glad to offer my best of effort for the great advancement of tourism development, and tourism investment in the region Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of the African tourism board and I look forward to the work we have ahead of us

Yours sincerely,

Greg Bakunzi

Red Rocks Initiatives, Musanze, Rwanda

Louis D’Amore
International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, USA

Louis D’Amore is Founder and President of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT). He has been instrumental in promoting the travel and tourism industry as the world’s first “Global Peace Industry” since the founding of IIPT in 1986. In 1988, he organized the First Global Conference: Tourism – A Vital Force for Peace, bringing together 800 participants from 67 countries and introducing for the first time the concept of Sustainable Tourism Development. The Global Conference also introduced a “Higher Purpose of Tourism” that gives emphasis to the key role of travel and tourism in promoting international understanding, cooperation among nations, environmental protection and preservation of biodiversity, cultural enhancement and valuing heritage, sustainable socio-economic development, poverty reduction and healing the wounds of conflict.

He has since organized international and global conferences focusing on these issues in regions throughout the world most recently in South Africa honoring the legacies of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. D’Amore has been a pioneer in socially and environmentally responsible tourism since conducting the world’s first comprehensive study on the future of tourism for the Canadian Government in the mid-70’s and subsequently in 1993 developing the world’s first “Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism.”  Mr. D’Amore is Chancellor of Livingstone International University of Tourism Excellence and Business Management (LIUTEBM) and recipient of the International Consortium of Tourism Partners “Visionary Award.”

Hon Dr. Memunatu Pratt
Minister of Tourism & Culture, Sierra Leone

The Honorable Dr. Memunatu Pratt is the Minister of Tourism & Culture Sierra Leone.