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Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Recognizes Frank and Haydee Rainieri
of Puntacana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic with the Bill Bissell
Lifetime Achievement Award

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference Takes Place In Puerto Rico, May 4-6, 2010

CORAL GABLES, FL (April 12, 2010) – It is with great pleasure that the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) will recognize the accomplishments of Frank and Haydee Rainieri of Puntacana Resort & Club, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with the Bill Bissell Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award will be presented on May 5 at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC 2010) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Bill Bissell Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to individuals who have made a difference in the industry through their actions, contributions and great lifetime accomplishments in the Caribbean and beyond.

“Frank and Haydee’s impact on Caribbean tourism – as well as their work on sustainability issues, social reform and education – is well known and is deserving of the entire region’s respect,” said Enrique De Marchena Kaluche, President of CHTA.

“As a fellow Dominican, however, I feel a special affinity for the Rainieris as they’ve played an integral role in shaping the Dominican Republic into one of the Caribbean’s premiere tourism destinations with Puntacana Resort & Club remaining one of our country’s most notable luxury resorts,” added De Marchena.

“The Caribbean owes a huge debt of gratitude to Frank Rainieri who founded the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and served as our chairman for the first several years,” said Sir Royston O. Hopkin, KCMG, CAST’s current chairman.
“Likewise, Haydee is a distinguished ambassador of Caribbean tourism and an outspoken advocate on numerous issues central to our development and social progress,” noted Hopkin. “Working alongside the Rainieris has been a pleasure.”

Frank Rainieri is a renowned leader and visionary in the Dominican Republic and the Greater Caribbean. He is credited with pioneering the Punta Cana region’s tourism product and developing Puntacana Resort & Club from 10 small bungalows in 1971 into one of the most exclusive and elegant tourist retreats in present day Dominican Republic.

His contributions have resulted in a myriad of recognitions locally and internationally, including the high distinction of the Presidential Citation Award, presented in 1985 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan. In that same year, he was selected by the United Nations to serve as a representative for the Dominican Republic in a seminar for Young Entrepreneurs of Developing Countries. In 1999, he was distinguished as Caribbean Hotelier of the Year by CHTA.

Frank currently serves on the Board for the American Chamber of Commerce as well as ASONAHORES (Dominican Republic’s National Association of Hotels and Restaurants) and CAST (an organization he is credited with founding). He is also an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), through which he’s been extremely supportive of Haitian relief efforts.

Haydee Rainieri first arrived on the scene representing the Dominican Republic as Miss Dominican Republic at the Miss World International pageant, where she went on to receive the coveted title of Miss Americas in Argentina. Since then, she’s served as a faithful ambassador for the Dominican Republic and Caribbean tourism in general.

She received her undergraduate degree in Physics cum laude at the National University Pedro Henríquez Ureña, where she later served on the academic staff.

During her professional career, she worked as producer and anchorwoman for the television program Frente a Frente next to renowned journalist Mario Rivadulla. She also served as Director for the Public Relations Division of the National Theater of the Dominican Republic, as well as Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Haydee was distinguished by United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) in 1982 with the Silver Supreme Award for Outstanding Youths. In 1994, she received the Grand Award from ASONAHORES.

She is also an outspoken advocate for education as a member of EDUCA (a non-governmental organization founded by entrepreneurs committed to improving the quality of education in the Dominican Republic) since 1996. She also served as Director of APEC (Action in Favor of Education and Culture, Inc.).

In 1987, Haydee Rainieri joined Grupo Puntacana, the managing company behind Puntacana Resort & Club, where she now serves as Vice President of Hospitality and Human Resources. She is also the current President of the ASONAHORES, a role she’s held since 2008, as well as the current 4th Vice President of the CHTA Board of Directors.

Frank and Haydee Rainieri married in 1973 and have three children and four grandchildren.

CHTIC 2010

Taking place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, May 4-6, 2010, CHTIC will be hosted by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association (PRHTA) and Puerto Rico Convention Bureau (PRCB).

With uncertainty looming in the tourism industry despite the fact that RevPAR (revenue per available room) is on the rise, tourism officials and executives in the Caribbean – as well as financial entities invested in the region’s development – are saying the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC 2010) could not be more appropriately timed.

“We have been seeing moderate improvement in the performance of Caribbean tourism over the last year, which makes this the opportune time for a big thrust in development in preparation for a full return to profitability for our hospitality sector,” said De Marchena.

History Puntacana Resort & Club

In 1969, a group of American investors acquired a 58-million square meter lot equivalent to 48 square kilometers of pure jungle on the east coast of the Dominican Republic. Being almost rectangular in shape, this roadless lot contained approximately 10 seashore kilometers with numerous exotic white-sand beaches and thousands of coconut trees.

Joining them some time afterwards was a group of local investors headed by entrepreneur Frank R. Rainieri who had the vision to make use of the lot for tourism development. Climate in the area fluctuates between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year round with less than 800 millimeters of annual rainfall. In 1968, UNESCO declared these beaches as truly exceptional and globally unique for their fine white sand, crystalline waters and coral reefs.

Managed by Dominican Frank R. Rainieri and American Theodore W. Kheel, the Compañía de Desarrollo Turístico Residencial e Industrial S.A. (CODDETREISA), known today as GRUPO PUNTACANA S.A., began development of the lot in 1971 with the launching of a small hotel known as the Punta Cana Club. It had 10 two-room villas, a Clubhouse, a small town for employees, a power plant, and a basic aircraft runway. At full capacity this hotel could accommodate 40 guests. It demonstrated that the property had great potential and in 1978 Club Mediterrané of Paris France started the construction of the first 350-room hotel.

On the same year, the Dominican Government started the construction of the first access road to connect Punta Cana with the country's road network, discovering the inconvenience of having to travel four hours to arrive to the nearest airport located in Santo Domingo. This enabled the construction of the Punta Cana International Airport. After an eight-year battle with three different governments, authorization was finally obtained for the construction of the first private international airport in the country. Construction started in 1982 and was finished in 1984 with the first international flight coming from San Juan Puerto Rico in a twin turbo propeller aircraft.

Due to its isolated location and lack of public facilities from the Dominican Government, GRUPO PUNTACANA S.A. took upon itself the responsibility to solve and maintain all facilities required for proper operation. Access roads, security, waterworks, electricity, garbage disposal, waste disposal and schools are all operable through projects and subsidiary corporations of GRUPO PUNTACANA. Since 1997 the owners of GRUPO PUNTACANA are Theodore W. Kheel, Frank R. Rainieri, Julio Iglesias and Oscar de la Renta. (

“But we’re not quite there yet, which is why CHTIC 2010 is of the utmost importance to lenders, developers, hoteliers and others who stand to gain much during this precarious moment and would benefit greatly from the predictions of some of the industry’s best and brightest,” he added.

Presentations by the World Tourism Organization, the World Travel & Tourism Council, Smith Travel Research, KPMG and others will provide delegates with a global perspective of the tourism industry and how the Caribbean compares.

The extensive list of speakers also includes Ministers of Tourism, Chief Executives of major hotel brands and a host of expert panelists for the diverse program which includes workshops on the economics of being green, the effect of national infrastructure on the tourism industry and, for the first time this year, a panel session and workshop on Cuba featuring Emily Morris who writes for the Economist Intelligence Unit on the subject.

Limited sponsorship opportunities are now available for this prestigious event. Sponsors will be highlighted throughout the entire conference, as well as in CHTA’s marketing and public relations activities leading up to and following the event. The Sponsors’ Exhibit will also afford direct contact with representatives of sponsoring companies and will be open throughout the conference.
CHTIC sponsors currently confirmed include FirstCaribbean International Bank, Interval International, LG Electronics and MasterCard on the Patron Sponsorship level, as well as Platinum Sponsors GreenbergTraurig, KPMG, OBM International and RCI.

Gold sponsors include American Resort Development Association (ARDA), ACLA Works, AMS Construction (Aireko), Best Western, Boyken International, Choice Hotels International, Eventstar, Green Globe Certification, Robb & Stucky Hospitality, Tourism Development Company and VingCard Elsafe.  Media sponsors include Lodging Hospitality and ARDA Devevelopments.  Supporters include Business Monitor International, and STR.

CHTIC was founded by CHTA and CTO in 1997 with the specific objectives of improving the tourism investment and operating climate in the Caribbean, raising awareness of development opportunities and stimulating a continuing flow of equity and loan capital into the region.

For more information on CHTIC 2010 – including sponsorship opportunities – please contact CHTA at 305-443-3040, e-mail or visit

Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) facilitates the full potential of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry by serving members’ needs and building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner.  CHTA was founded in 1962; it is the voice of the Caribbean hospitality industry for the development of the region in the highly competitive and sophisticated environment of international tourism. Today, tourism is widely recognized as a pivotal industry in the economy of the region – and CHTA functions as the common denominator for this industry in a region of diverse nationalities, languages and styles, identifying mutual problems and marshalling the resources of the active and allied members to devise solutions. CHTA represents all facets of the hospitality industry with more than 725 member hotels and 525 allied members.
For more information, visit


Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association

Also See: Recap: The 12th Annual Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference; Confidence High as Investment Community Looks at Caribbean for Future Development / May 2008

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