Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Local News & Alerts | 0 comments

Last Saturday, the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association inducted Bermudian Hotelier/Developer John Jefferis, JP into the Tourism Hall of Fame for 2015. He is one of only two persons ever to be inducted. The Tourism Hall of Fame, which recognises and honours those persons who have been outstanding performers in the hospitality and tourism industry through hard work, dedication and innovation. 

Jefferis is the owner of Coco Reef – Bermuda, Coco Reef – Tobago and a number of other businesses in the Caribbean region, including Cuba. He started his career as a 15-year-old pot washer at a fish and chip restaurant in London. Today, he is the Chairman and sole shareholder of the Palm Reef Hotel Development Company Limited, Coco Reef Resorts Ltd, the Caribbean Construction Company, Island Resorts International Ltd and Inflite Catering, an airline catering company with operations in both Bermuda and Tobago.  

 Jefferis, a past President and Chairman of the Bermuda Hotel Association was, despite much local opposition, the driving force behind Bermuda joining the Caribbean Hotel Association.     In 2011, Jefferis was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Board. He also served as Chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Board’s Gaming Committee, which focused on the positive aspects of gaming and the concept of legalising gaming in Bermuda.

“We are proud to recognise John Jefferis’ many years of substantial and sustained contribution to leadership, service and success in the Trinidad and Tobago hospitality and tourism industry,” said Andrew Welch, President, Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association. “The Award Judging Committee acknowledges his contribution to the growth of Trinidad and Tobago’s hospitality and tourism sector through innovation and astute business practices.  Mr Jefferis has left a positive lasting legacy within his organisation, as well as with the people with whom he has worked.  Coco Reef Resorts has significantly contributed to the improvement and the recognition of Tobago as a tourism destination.”

After winning the national award for the top final year management student, Jefferis accepted an internship at the Savoy Hotel in London. He then moved to Bermuda where he was employed as Junior Assistant Manager at the Belmont Hotel. He was subsequently promoted to General Manager at the Belmont.

Subsequently Jefferis’ was appointed Managing Director of the Elbow Beach Hotel and Development Company and a member of the Board of Directors. During his time at Elbow Beach, the hotel’s market share and reputation increased dramatically.

 Jefferis was also the owner of Edgehill Manor, Roxy’s Night Club and the Palm Reef Hotel, all of which he later sold. He was the major shareholder in the Haley Corporation, which was for many years, Bermuda’s largest tour operator and source of tourists.

In 1992, Jefferis commenced the design, development plans, financing, and construction of the $82 million Coco Reef – Tobago which became one of the Caribbean’s most successful properties. A well-known, leading Caribbean Tour Operator/Airline Executive stated: “Without Coco Reef, there would not be any tourism in Tobago.”  Coco Reef – Tobago has won the World Travel Award for the “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel” for the last 11 years.

In 2003, Jefferis acquired the Stonington Beach Hotel in Paget, which underwent a $14.3 million reconstruction, renovation and refurbishment, It opened as the Coco Reef – Bermuda in 2004.

In response to his induction into the Tourism Hall of Fame, John Jefferis said: “Having devoted my career to the hospitality and tourism industry, it is an honour to be inducted into the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association – Hall of Fame. Creating new and memorable experiences and continually upgrading and redesigning my hotels for our guests is my passion and I am always humbled to be recognised for doing what I enjoy most.”


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