July 5, 2020

Coco Reef owner John Jefferis named Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year


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john-jefferisFrom bermudawired

Bermudian hotelier has been named by the International World Awards as “Entrepreneur of the Year,” for his exceptional contribution to the travel and tourism industry and for his innovative and creative business skills. Along with owning and operating in , Tobago and Panama, Jefferis has a range of other related business interests in the Caribbean region.

“I am honoured to have received this award,” said Mr. Jefferis, a former “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year,” Chairman and President of the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Bermuda Hotel Association. “I’ve spent many years in the rewarding field of hospitality and tourism and I am particularly pleased that I have been able to live out my dream of operating businesses in the Caribbean region – one of the most beautiful and idyllic places in the World. I am most fortunate in having such a wonderful group of professionals as colleagues, who share my vision of customer focused operations.  Their dedication to and passion for our businesses have played an integral role in my receiving the “Caribbean Entrepreneur of the Year” Award.

In their 19th year, the International Caribbean World Awards have become known as the Oscars of the Caribbean. Recognising excellence in travel, tourism and property development throughout the Caribbean region. The accolades are voted on by the readers of Caribbean World Magazine.  “The International Caribbean World Awards are a unique chance for admirers to celebrate companies and individuals who have made a real difference to the Caribbean region over the past years.” said Ray Carmen, founder and publisher of World Caribbean Magazine. “As Mr. Jefferis continues to invest in developing and enhancing his award-winning Coco Reef Resorts, the hotels maintain strong followings of guests who relish the properties’ beautiful locations, unique design and first class service. With all of his business ventures in the region, including airline catering, theme restaurants, residential property rentals, commercial property development and various retail businesses, Mr. Jefferis has made a great contribution to the wider tourism sector. And for that, he is well-deserving of the Entrepreneur of the Year title.”

Mr. Jefferis was the founder of the Bermuda Chapter of the Chaine de Rotisseurs. He was also the majority owner of the Haley Corporation, a tour operator, which was the largest supplier of business to Bermuda in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Whilst President of the Caribbean Hotel Association his innovations included the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and the Crystal Palm Awards, an event held in London for European tour operators.

After selling his various hotel and property interests in Bermuda in 1991, Mr. Jefferis designed and developed the $58 million Coco Reef Resort and Spa –Tobago which opened in 1996.

In order to get British Airways to fly direct to Tobago in 1998, as requested by the airline, Jefferis started Inflite Catering which became Tobago’s only airline catering company, providing airlines with catering and other services. Coco Reef – Tobago features a dramatic lobby and unique architecture that reflect the local surroundings, 10 acres of beautifully manicured tropical gardens overlooking a spectacular private beach. The exquisite $2,000 per night Sunset Villa at Coco Reef – Tobago, with its marble bathrooms and 24-karat gold fittings, has been frequented by innumerable celebrities including; Sylvester Stallone, Rod Stewart and Diana Ross. The Tobago property, which has 150 rooms and suites, has received the World Travel Award for “The Caribbean’s Leading Hotel” for the last 10 years.

After a $12 million investment, Mr. Jefferis opened Coco Reef – Bermuda in 2004.  The property features an award-winning lobby with a soaring 50-foot atrium and crystal skylight, as well as marble flooring, a triple layer octagonal fountain, French antiques and exotic paintings. The property’s 70 rooms are situated on a perfect beach. Along with two restaurants, the hotel offers a private dining room, and conference and wedding facilities.

As chairman and sole shareholder of the Palm Reef Hotel Development Company Limited, Coco Reef Resorts Ltd and Island Resorts International Limited, Mr. Jefferis is involved in hotel development and management, the CRR construction company, art galleries and theme restaurants. In addition, he is chairman of Inflite Catering, which has airline catering operations in both Tobago and Bermuda.

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