DR1 Daily News (May 19, 2009)
Grupo Puntacana, parent company of the Punta Cana Resort & Club in the east of the Dominican Republic, has won one of the four prestigious "World Tourism & Travel Council Tourism for Tomorrow" awards. These are presented annually to organizations pioneering responsible tourism management and helping to improve the livelihoods of communities in host destinations through sustainable tourism development. Grupo Puntacana received the award in the Destination Stewardship category. Grupo Puntacana is the first Caribbean organization to be recognized in this category. According to Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President & CEO of WTTC, Punta Cana Resort & Club successfully demonstrates sustainable tourism practices on a daily basis. "We are delighted to present the 2009 Destination Stewardship Award to the Grupo Puntacana as a tourism enterprise that has over the years developed exceptional programs in sustainable development. These programs have not only helped the local community by providing jobs but also educational and health resources unmatched by other destinations. Sustainability has been in the Grupo Puntacana's DNA since its inception, setting the bar high for other companies conducting business in the region."
"We are honored to receive the 2009 Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Stewardship Award. Grupo Puntacana strives to be an example of successful regional environmental and social responsibility development for the world's tourism industry," said Frank Rainieri, founder and CEO of Grupo Puntacana. He added, "Our commitment to the Punta Cana region has always been defined by a deep and humble respect for its breathtaking natural treasures and warm, friendly people."
Founded in 1994, the Puntacana Ecological Foundation brings together thought leaders from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Columbia, Cornell and the University of Miami to develop and implement new ecological programs, such as residential, hotel and resort environmental management practices, coral reef conservation projects, a cutting-edge water treatment facility and an aggressive waste management initiative. Led by the Foundation's Director, Jake Kheel, a Cornell University graduate, the organization also oversees the programming and development of several schools and a hospital serving the local community. The Foundation represents the heart of the deep commitment to environmental protection, sustainable tourism business practices and education for the Punta Cana region and abroad. The award was accepted by Grupo Puntacana CEO Frank Rainieri during a special session of the 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit on May 16th, 2009.