SAN JUAN -- The recently forged strategic alliance between Wyndham International and Viva Resorts' seven inclusive properties in the Bahamas, Mexico and the Dominican

Republic brings Wyndham's Caribbean portfolio up to 16 properties on eight islands, making it the largest upscale hotel brand in the region.

Under the agreement, Viva's properties are rebranded as Viva Wyndham Resorts, incorporate Wyndham brand standards, can be booked through Wyndham's toll-free number and participate in the WyndhamByRequest guest-recognition program.

Rich Cortese, vice president of operations for Wyndham Resorts, said the Viva alliance "gives us a big leg up in the inclusive resort market in the Caribbean, especially for the North American market. It allows us to diversify our product and destination choices for travelers."

The alliance is a "match made in heaven," according to Ettore Colussi, Viva's founder and president. "Our resorts are popular with Europeans, but we were missing the U.S. market, especially honeymooners and families. Wyndham's name increases our brand recognition."

The Viva Wyndham Caribbean properties include the 276-room Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach, Grand Bahama Island; in the Dominican Republic, the 500-room Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, La Romana; the 330-room Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace, La Romana; and the 223-room Tangerine, Cabarete.

The three Mexican properties are in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya.

Viva plans to add a convention center to each of its resorts and upgrade spa facilities. It also is eyeing "possible future sites" in Tobago and the north coast of Brazil, according to Colussi.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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