VETERAN destination marketer and ASEAN cruise champion Kevin Leong has stepped onboard the Asian Cruise Association (ACA) as general manager, a full-time appointment designed to propel the regional industry ahead faster.
Over the past two years, ACA was overseen by a chairman, Rama Rebbapragada of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and a secretariat service on a retainer.
“They felt they needed a full-time person to move the association forward at a faster pace, now that the MBCC (Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore) has opened and, next year, Hong Kong will open its cruise terminal at the former Kai Tak airport,” Leong said in an email interview with TTG Asia e-Daily.
“Developments in north Asia, especially in China, have been more rapid and they felt that with the potential in South-east Asia, the region should not lag behind,” he added.
Said Rebbapragada: “A lot of good work had been done over the past three years, but with the increased interest in the growth of the industry, there is a lot more that can be accomplished. The general manager will give even more focus and direction – which is needed to continue the good growth in the cruise industry in Asia.”
Leong retired from the Singapore Tourism Board in March after 36 years in various portfolios, including international marketing, MICE and events marketing. Since 2006, however, he has become known in ASEAN circles as the man who champions ASEAN cruising. In 2006, while based at STB’s Sydney office, he chaired the ASEAN Cruise Working Group (ACWG) to co-ordinate the development of the regional cruise industry for the 10 member countries.
“This position with the ACA is a new phase of my life, and having been involved with the cruise industry from the ‘government’ side as chair of ACWG, I’m now looking forward to working with the private sector members of the cruise industry,” said Leong, who is based in Singapore.