A tribute from ACAAI to V.S. Ubhayakar

I would like to dedicate my article for this issue of ACAAI News as a tribute to our beloved Past President and Member, Board of Advisors, ACAAI, Mr. Vinayak Sheshgiri Ubhayakar (fondly known as Vinoo Ubhayakar), who passed away on 1st May 2016 at Mumbai.

Late Mr. Ubhayakar was very closely associated with the travel and cargo industries in India for about 65 years. In many respects, he was a pioneer in these industries in numerous capacities during this period. He began his travel industry career with Asiatic Travel Service, and became it’s Managing Director in 1953. Later, he joined Trade Wings Ltd. as Executive Director, and eventually became it’s Managing Director, a position he held until his demise.

He was a Founder Member of ACAAI, and served as it’s President from 1989 to 1991. He took very keen interest in the activities of our Association, and was always available for counsel, guidance and assistance whenever required. He was the Chairman of the ACAAI Convention Committee for a number of years a task which he carried out with utmost sincerity, involvement, grace and flair.

Late Mr. Ubhayakar was an epitome of civility, gentleness, and possessed great qualities of head and heart. He characterised all the hallmarks of a gentleman from a bygone era, in which such qualities had resonance and value. He was unfailingly courteous, considerate and helpful towards everyone who came in contact with him. At the same time, he demonstrated great leadership qualities in the various roles that he assumed in his own organisation as well as the numerous bodies that he was associated with. There are numerous instances which ACAAI members nostalgically recollect, which amply demonstrate his many sterling qualities.

He was highly respected in the travel and cargo industries, and made a huge contribution in the growth of the travel, tourism and cargo industries in India . He was the President of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) from 1975 to 1978, and was the first Indian as well as the first Asian to be elected President of the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA). He was the recipient of numerous prestigious honours and awards from the travel industry during his lifetime. These included the TAAI Agastya Award, IATO’s Hall of Fame award, and SKAL Club of Bombay’s Life Time Achievement award. He was also chosen by TAAI to edit and produce a commemorative book on the history of TAAI on the occasion of it’s golden jubilee. He was honoured with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by ACAAI in 2012.

His simplicity and self- effacing nature were genuine and deeply rooted in his personality. His politeness and friendly nature endeared him to one and all. He had the unique ability to defuse contentious situations with his ready wit, and always brought a humane and pleasing touch to the proceedings. Often seen in his signature style grey flannels and double breasted blue blazer which seemed to easily enwrap his tall and lean frame, he cut a genial, charming and dashing figure. His was a welcoming and inviting personality, and such was his warmth and humility that there was hardly anybody who did not want to meet and greet him at the first opportunity. He leaves behind many warm and pleasant memories, and a legion of friends and admirers.

ACAAI pays tribute to this true titan of our times, an exceptional and wonderful human being and an eminently unforgettable personality. It can truly be said that Almighty God does not make many people like him anymore. May his departed soul rest in eternal peace.