Jamaican hotelier Hon. John J. Issa, executive chairman of SuperClubs Super-Inclusive Resorts, was named “Caribbean Master Entrepreneur of the Year” by the professional services firm Ernst and Young. The awards presentation ceremony was held at the Ritz Carlton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay on September 27, 2003.
“It is gratifying to receive such an esteemed award,” said Issa. “The last 27 years have been tremendously rewarding. With a lot of hard work and help from a very talented team, we have grown from a single hotel to a 16-resort chain in six countries. I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the many people who have contributed to the success of this company.”
Indeed, Issa, 63, is credited with introducing the all-inclusive concept to Jamaica. In 1976, Negril Beach Village, which became Hedonism II in 1981, was the first all-inclusive resort on the island. Today Issa runs seven all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica alone, and has opened resorts in the Bahamas, Curaçao, Cuba, Brazil and, most recently, two new resorts in the Dominican Republic.
During the oil embargo plagued 1970s, he noticed that Club Med and cruise ships were among the only winners in a very tough economy. He identified the common factor, i.e. all-inclusive packages, and modified the concept, making it his own by elevating it to a “Super-Inclusive”, with no extra charges for any resort amenity or service.
In fact, SuperClubs resorts were the first all-inclusives to include alcoholic beverages, island excursions, weddings and tips as part of the holiday package.
A market segmentation strategy produced several different brands allowing his guests to choose the right resort for their needs. Singles, couples and families are able to match their holiday requirements via the Grand Lido, Breezes, Hedonism and Starfish brands.
Equally dedicated to public service in Jamaica, Issa served as a senator from 1983 to 1989. A past chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board and former president of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, he was named “Hotelier of the Year” in 1990.
His contribution to community service, staff development and guest satisfaction earned him the highest accolade of the Caribbean Hotel Association in 1994, the “Caribbean Hotelier of the Year” award. Investor`s Choice, Jamaica`s leading business magazine, named him “Man of the Decade” for the benefits his entrepreneurship has brought to Jamaica.
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