RAMA Rebbapragada, founding chairman of the Asia Cruise Association (ACA), passed away on July 25, 2012 following a long battle with illness.
Serving as ACA chairman from January 2010 to June 2012, Rama's passion in leading the association was apparent in the way he championed working together as an industry with cruise lines on a range of issues, such as building consumer and trade awareness for cruising through travel consultant training, and working with government agencies to develop a cruise-friendly environment in Asia.
Rama was also associate vice president, International Consumer Outreach & Business Development of Royal Caribbean Cruises, and an employee of the company, since 1983. Previously, he was regional vice president, International, responsible for business development in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Based in Singapore from 2007 to 2009, he led Royal Caribbean Cruises’ entry into Asia-Pacific, opening its regional headquarters in Singapore, its first representative offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, and its first office in Sydney.
Kevin Leong, recently appointed general manager of ACA after a long career with the Singapore Tourism Board (TTG Asia e-Daily, July 16, 2012), said: “I first got to know Rama when he was sent to Singapore to start the Royal Caribbean Asia office. His dynamism was infectious and when he started up ACA, I knew that Asia would become the next big cruise region sooner or later. We mourn his passing, but will continue his legacy and turn his dreams into reality.”
Trey Hickey, vice president International Sales & Marketing for Princess Cruises and Cunard Line, said: “Rama touched the lives of so many across the world; he kindly brought me into the industry 15 years ago and has served as my mentor ever since. Rama will continue to be an inspiration to all of us and will be missed.”