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HomeNewsArchivesDOUMENG QUITS AS HOTEL ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

DOUMENG QUITS AS HOTEL ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

Dec. 5, 2001 – Jayne Hillner, general manager of Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, is the new president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, succeeding Richard Doumeng, who resigned Wednesday.
Doumeng, 45, who served as president for nearly four years, submitted his resignation at a meeting of the association board. He had a little more than a year left on his current two-year term.
"I want to spend more of my time focusing on Bolongo's continued success," he said, referring to his position as general manager of Bolongo Bay Beach Club and Villas, which is owned by his family. He referred to his work at the hotel as his "paying job," as opposed to his volunteer one with the association.
Doumeng also cited difficulties in trying to work with the government to promote tourism as a reason for his resignation. "For whatever reasons, the relationship that the Turnbull administration and the Department of Tourism has with the hotel industry in particular and the business community in general is as unproductive as it has ever been," he said.
Hillner, 48, who had held the position of association vice president for only a month, takes over as president at a time when the hospitality industry in the islands is facing a difficult time because of a faltering economy on the mainland and widespread fear of flying since Sept. 11.
Beverly Nicholson, hotel association executive director, said Hillner brings the advantage of her affiliation with a major hotel chain to the leadership of the organization. Doumeng, who grew up on St. Thomas, mentioned that as well and also said that Hillner's experience outside the territory is an asset. "Plus, she wants to serve," he added, laughing.
Often outspoken in his views on tourism issues, Doumeng has been a strong advocate of a private-public Tourism Authority to replace the government department — something the governor opposed. The 23rd Legislature approved creation of such an authority a year ago, but Gov. Charles W. Turnbull vetoed the measure.
Doumeng said Wednesday that he didn't want the "non-relationship" the hotel association has with the government to be because of him. "I don't know if I was the problem," he said. "Right or wrong, good or bad, people knew what was on my mind."
Nicholson said there never has been any question of Doumeng's commitment to promoting the Virgin Islands as a tourism destination. "Those of us who worked with Richard know he gave 110 percent," she said.
Nicholson also said she and Hillner share some visions for the hotel association, particularly in the field of customer service. Caribbean destinations are similar, Nicholson said, but St. Thomas can stand out by focusing on improving the interpersonal skills of its people.
To help combat the downturn in business, Hillner is calling on all segments of the hospitality industry, the chambers of commerce and the local government to work together. "So everybody's speaking off the same page," she said. Acknowledging that the relationship between the government and hoteliers has been "tenuous," she said she would work for improvements.
Hillner arrived at Frenchman's Reef in March 2000 when Marriott bought the island's largest hotel from Prime Hospitality. She has spent her entire career with Marriott, starting as a restaurant manager at the Lincolnshire Hotel in Deerfield, Ill. Before taking the St. Thomas position, she was Marriott's vice president for marketing for the Caribbean and Latin America.
She has broad international experience. Born in St. Louis, she lived as a child in Belgium and Japan, where her father served as a corporate executive with Monsanto. She spent most of her university years in Japan but returned to the United States to graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in Asian studies.
Hillner said she would run for a full term as president when the hotel association holds elections in January.
Doumeng, whose father, Dick Doumeng, also served multiple terms as president of the hotel association, said he plans to remain active in the organization.

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Dec. 5, 2001 - Jayne Hillner, general manager of Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, is the new president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, succeeding Richard Doumeng, who resigned Wednesday.
Doumeng, 45, who served as president for nearly four years, submitted his resignation at a meeting of the association board. He had a little more than a year left on his current two-year term.
"I want to spend more of my time focusing on Bolongo's continued success," he said, referring to his position as general manager of Bolongo Bay Beach Club and Villas, which is owned by his family. He referred to his work at the hotel as his "paying job," as opposed to his volunteer one with the association.
Doumeng also cited difficulties in trying to work with the government to promote tourism as a reason for his resignation. "For whatever reasons, the relationship that the Turnbull administration and the Department of Tourism has with the hotel industry in particular and the business community in general is as unproductive as it has ever been," he said.
Hillner, 48, who had held the position of association vice president for only a month, takes over as president at a time when the hospitality industry in the islands is facing a difficult time because of a faltering economy on the mainland and widespread fear of flying since Sept. 11.
Beverly Nicholson, hotel association executive director, said Hillner brings the advantage of her affiliation with a major hotel chain to the leadership of the organization. Doumeng, who grew up on St. Thomas, mentioned that as well and also said that Hillner's experience outside the territory is an asset. "Plus, she wants to serve," he added, laughing.
Often outspoken in his views on tourism issues, Doumeng has been a strong advocate of a private-public Tourism Authority to replace the government department -- something the governor opposed. The 23rd Legislature approved creation of such an authority a year ago, but Gov. Charles W. Turnbull vetoed the measure.
Doumeng said Wednesday that he didn't want the "non-relationship" the hotel association has with the government to be because of him. "I don't know if I was the problem," he said. "Right or wrong, good or bad, people knew what was on my mind."
Nicholson said there never has been any question of Doumeng's commitment to promoting the Virgin Islands as a tourism destination. "Those of us who worked with Richard know he gave 110 percent," she said.
Nicholson also said she and Hillner share some visions for the hotel association, particularly in the field of customer service. Caribbean destinations are similar, Nicholson said, but St. Thomas can stand out by focusing on improving the interpersonal skills of its people.
To help combat the downturn in business, Hillner is calling on all segments of the hospitality industry, the chambers of commerce and the local government to work together. "So everybody's speaking off the same page," she said. Acknowledging that the relationship between the government and hoteliers has been "tenuous," she said she would work for improvements.
Hillner arrived at Frenchman's Reef in March 2000 when Marriott bought the island's largest hotel from Prime Hospitality. She has spent her entire career with Marriott, starting as a restaurant manager at the Lincolnshire Hotel in Deerfield, Ill. Before taking the St. Thomas position, she was Marriott's vice president for marketing for the Caribbean and Latin America.
She has broad international experience. Born in St. Louis, she lived as a child in Belgium and Japan, where her father served as a corporate executive with Monsanto. She spent most of her university years in Japan but returned to the United States to graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in Asian studies.
Hillner said she would run for a full term as president when the hotel association holds elections in January.
Doumeng, whose father, Dick Doumeng, also served multiple terms as president of the hotel association, said he plans to remain active in the organization.