Diplomat Magazine in conversation with Frank Rainieri, understanding the new trend
H.E. Mr Frank Rainieri, Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Chairman and Founder of Grupo Puntacana in the Dominican Republic and a reference in the tourism industry around the world, shared with Diplomat Magazine his views about the inclination of the tourism market, and public preferences after the pandemic.
After more than a year of an unprecedent health situation that affected the global population, people are slowly going back to normal. While restrictions and regulations are relaxed following a massive vaccination, millions will travel somewhere to recharge, relax and recover energies but destinations and the way we used to travel changed, for good?
“The trend right now is more towards low density, and eco-tourism. In these times, we have observed a total movement towards outdoor sports and not closed areas, a proclivity of being in contact with nature.” said Rainieri.
Punta Cana is characterized by its large outdoor areas, surrounded by kilometers of white sand beaches.
“We have been working ceaseless in the implementation of hygiene and health measures” he declared. “The Ministry of Tourism in the Dominican Republic, instead of making an individual plan, invited the private sector, led by the Hotel and Tourism Associations, to actively participate in the design of these programs. We are all closely observing that the protocols are strictly applied in the sector, which has allowed the Dominican Republic and Punta Cana to be deemed as safe destinations to travel.”
“We have worked to reactivate international markets to ensure they understand the country’s position regarding Covid-19.”
A strict compliance with the protocols contributed to the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) being recognized by the Airports Council International (ACI), for the implementation of the best hygiene measures implemented by the region for the prevention of Covid-19. To date, 100% of the employees who work at the Punta Cana International Airport and Grupo Puntacana have been vaccinated.
“This success story gives the airlines confidence; people feel confident and tourists have no reason to worry when passing through the airport. Likewise, we are coordinating with the companies so that, as the borders are opened, more routes and flights are reincorporated, and thus air traffic will increase significantly.”
“The National Vaccination Plan for the recovery of the tourism sector has been very successful. In fact, the vaccination process has had the full support of hoteliers and business sector in the tourist area; several companies, including the Puntacana Group, collaborated with financial resources for the acquisition of vaccines in support of the Dominican Republic.
The Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic began on March 8th, the National Vaccination Plan (Vacúnate RD) with 20 simultaneous stations located only in Terminal B of the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), facilitated by Grupo Puntacana. We also supported operational logistics with more than 100 volunteer collaborators in the daily operation, in aid of the Ministry of Public Health, the Dominican Red Cross and the neighborhood council.
“We have furthermore provided ambulances, cold rooms, medical supplies such as alcohol and cotton, medical support staff, food and accommodation for the Ministry’s medical team, which has enabled citizens to be vaccinated daily in an agile, organized and safe manner, and make it one of the vaccination posts that assimilate the highest volume of people per day.”
“I must also acknowledge the initiative of the National Reserve Bank (Banreservas), to ensure the traveler during their stay in the country and, if infected with Covid-19, to cover hospitalization expenses. It has been a message of tranquility that has encouraged many people to be motivated to come to the Dominican Republic.”
‘La Altagracia Plan’: A response to the pandemic
“We also created the ‘La Altagracia Plan’, through which we donated ventilators, masks, protective equipment for medical personnel, expendable material to equip public hospitals as well as some private ones that lacked the necessary equipment and resources in the months of crisis.”
“Meanwhile, we implemented a food program to distribute 45,000 boxes of food for families of five that would cover a week of food in that province, from Higüey to Verón. We also participate with mobile telemedicine units and cooperate with the hotel association and the Specialized Body for Tourist Security, in hot food programs; In short, we have continuously worked with the purpose of contributing and helping the most vulnerable communities during these difficult times.”
“Let’s keep hope and don’t lose faith. The tourism industry is strong and resilient. 51 years ago, there was nothing here, and in the Dominican Republic nobody believed in tourism. However, little by little this destination was created, which has become the most important in the Insular Caribbean. It is a testimony that with effort and hard work great things are possible.”
About Frank Rainieri:
Frank Rafael Rainieri Marranzini is the President and CEO of Grupo Puntacana as well as Fundación Grupo Puntacana; both non-profit entities, dedicated to the development and execution of corporate social responsibility and environmental preservation programs.
Leader and visionary of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic. Creator of the tourist destination of Punta Cana, in the eastern part of the country and of the first international and private commercial airport in the world, giving way to one of the most exclusive tourist-real estate complexes that exist today in the area, Puntacana Resort & Club.
Currently, he is president of the Association of Airports of the Dominican Republic, a member of the National Council of Competitiveness for the Private Sector, an appointment received from the hands of the President of the Republic.
He was appointed in 2014 to the role of “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ” of the Sovereign Order of Malta in the country. In 2015, as “Member of the Private Sector Council” of the National Competitiveness Council by presidential decree; and in 2021, named “Sustainable Tourism Ambassador” by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Internationally, he is a member of three important entities World Travel & Tourism and Summit, the Clinton Foundation and the World Presidents Organization (WPO).
He is married to Mrs. Haydée Kuret Rainieri, with whom he has three children: Paola, Francesca and Frank Elías, all committed to the conglomerate of companies over which he presides.