Former tourism minister appointed at helm of Jordan flagship project

Published June 19th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Jordan's former tourism minister Akil Biltaji on Monday, June 18, took over as head of the kingdom's flagship economic scheme, the low-tariff Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ), officials said. 


The charismatic Biltaji was appointed to the post by royal decree issued on Sunday and will replace ASEZ president Mohamed Kalaldeh, who resigned last week, they said. 


Through the ASEZ, Jordan plans to transform Aqaba, its only port and outlet to the sea, into a major regional trade and tourism center that will attract six billion dollars in local and foreign investment by the year 2020. 


Biltaji, who invigorated Jordan's tourism industry for several years at the head of the ministry and before that held key positions at the national carrier Royal Jordanian, is expected to be a powerful engine in attracting investment to the project. 


He was replaced at the tourism ministry, which he headed since 1997, by former information minister Taleb Rifai in a government reshuffle on Saturday. ― (AFP, Amman) 


© Agence France Presse 2001

© 2001 Mena Report (

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