Tourism Advisory Board

Airbnb launched the Tourism Advisory Board, made up of travel industry leaders from around the world as part of its Office of Healthy Tourism, an initiative to drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities across the globe. The Tourism Advisory Board is comprised of four members who have set the tone for this dialogue during their years in the industry:

Professor the Hon Bob Carr, the former Foreign Affairs Minister for Australia and former Premier of New South Wales

Taleb Rifai, the former Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization

Rosette Rugamba, Managing Director of Songa Africa and Amakoro Lodge and former Director General of Rwanda Tourism and National Parks

David Scowsill, Chief Executive of EON Reality Inc. and former President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council

The Tourism Advisory Board will help shape the company’s long-term vision and activities promoting healthy, sustainable tourism and ensuring that as tourism grows, locals are the primary beneficiary.

Bob Carr

The Hon. Bob Carr served as a Foreign Minister and was also the longest continuously serving Premier in New South Wales history. He served as Minister for Planning and Environment from 1984 to 1988 and as Leader of the Opposition from 1988, until his election as Premier in March 1995. He was re-elected in 1999 and 2003 securing a historic third four-year term. He retired from state politics in 2005.

As Premier, he received the World Conservation Union International Parks Merit Award for creating 350 new national parks. He introduced the world’s first carbon trading scheme and curbed the clearing of native vegetation, both anti-greenhouse measures. He was a member of the International Task Force on Climate Change convened by Tony Blair, and was made a life member of the Wilderness Society in 2003.

In March 2012 he was designated by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as Australia’s Foreign Minister, elected to the Australian Senate to fill a casual Senate vacancy and sworn into the Senate and Cabinet on March 13, 2012.

As Foreign Minister, Bob Carr fostered stronger relations between Australia and Southeast Asia, lifted sanctions on Myanmar, campaigned for the passage of a global Arms Trade Treaty, and led the final stages of Australia’s successful bid for Australia’s seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. His plan for a Syrian medical pact was backed at the G20. Additionally, he assisted Prime Minister Gillard in achieving a strategic partnership with China.

Following his resignation from the Senate on October 24, 2013, the University of Technology, Sydney appointed him to lead the Australia-China Relations Institute –- a think tank dedicated to Australia-China relations. Bob Carr serves on the Board of Melbourne University Press, is a Director of The Lysicrates Foundation, and a Committee Member of the UNSW Matraville Education Program Advisory Council.

Rosette Chantal Rugamba

Rosette Chantal Rugamba is Managing Director of Songa Africa and Amakoro Lodge a Luxury tour and Hospitality company in East Africa, based in Rwanda. Ms. Rugamba, passionate about tourism, and has been actively involved in Travel and Tourism for the past 24 years, beginning with Eurostar in UK, and then as sales and Marketing Manager British Airways-Uganda.

Before returning to her native Rwanda to spearhead the revitalization of the Tourism Industry as Director General of Rwanda Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) and later as Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), RMs.

Rugamba has amassed a wealth of public sector insight and experience in mobilizing public-private partnership to grow tourism effectively and responsibly.

During her eight years as Head of Tourism and Conservation in Rwanda, she was charged to revitalise tourism as a key economic driver for Rwanda post the 1994 Tutsi Genocide. During her leadership, the number of tourists grew from 13,000 to 790,000 and became the top Foreign Exchange earner. Rwanda also won Best African Exhibitor in ITB-Tourism trade fair for four consecutive years. Ms. Rugamba has been recognized by the East African Community Secretariat as one of the leading tourism and conservation strategist in the region.

Ms. Rugamba is an Aspen Fellow, Ali East Africa class of 2010. She is a current member of the UNWTO-Global Ethics Committee, and also served as special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on sustainable tourism in Africa from 2010-2018. Her other responsibilities include  serving on the board of Trade Mark East Africa, with a mandate to grow prosperity through trade in the East Africa region. She is also a board member of the African Parks Network, an organization that seeks to address environmental conservation issues in Africa’s National Parks, headquartered in South Africa. Ms. Rugamba is President of Tourism in the Women Chamber-Rwanda. Her other passions involve mentoring young girls, supporting local communities and gardening.

Taleb Rifai

Taleb Rifai was the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), until December 2017. His post as Secretary-General began on January 2010, and he was elected for a second four-year term, starting January 2014, by the 20th Session of UNWTO General Assembly held in August 2013.

Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector and academia. Positions held include:  Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan (Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Information and Minister of Tourism and Antiquity), CEO of Jordan’s Cement Company, Director of the Economic Mission to Washington DC, and Director General of the Investment Promotion Corporation of Jordan.

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.

David Scowsill

David Scowsill is the former President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Global Forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry. The Council works to raise awareness of Travel & Tourism as one of the world’s largest industries, employing more than 313 million people worldwide and generating $8.3 trillion, which is 10% of global GDP.

At the WTTC Global Summits, which are the pre-eminent industry events, he interviewed many high-profile individuals, including Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton and Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron. Together with the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, he drove the campaign to visit 85 heads of state to deliver critical industry messages.

Prior to joining the WTTC in November 2010, Mr. Scowsill was an independent Chairman and Director, who built an extensive network in private equity and venture capital. He worked for six years with private equity houses, completing multiple deals in the technology and travel sectors.

Scowsill has paved his way through the travel industry, leading sales and operations at British Airways and American Airlines. He joined the board of Hilton International in 1997 as Senior VP Sales, Marketing, and IT, driving a $100 mil technology development program and leading the marketing brand re-unification between the two Hilton shareholder companies.

He then served as CEO of Opodo, the pan-European online travel agency owned by nine of Europe’s leading airlines. Scowsill built the company from a start-up to a €500 million transaction turnover in two years, before the business was sold in 2004 to Amadeus, a technology company that serves the global travel industry.

David is Chief Executive, EON Reality Inc., the world leader in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) knowledge transfer for industry and education. EON Reality has a global programme to launch Interactive Digital Centres, consisting of academies and software development studios, which delivers applications to major corporations and helps to replace jobs lost due to increasing technology disruption.

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