A pioneer in Asia's and Bali's Time Share Industry, John Spence of the Karma Royal Group have been named 2010 Ernst & Young Australian Entrepreneur of the Year.
Inspired to become a resort property operator after a visit to Goa, India in 1993, he introduced the then new concept of vacation ownership in India and South East Asia.
Within five years, Spence had opened Royal Resorts in India, Bali and Australia.
In 2002, Spence established Karma Resorts - a concept based on boutique villa resort resorts across Asia.
The company's focus on high-end, boutique villa resorts that are financed through investor purchases of an a entire villa that is rented back to an operating company on a condotel-type model.
The resulting success of this approach has Karma now operating a number of resorts – two of which are in Bali. Karma Jimbaran, the first resort, opened in Bali in 2005. Karma Samui opened with 36 villas in Thailand in early 2006. Karma Kandara opened in March 2008 and is the group's second Bali property. Karma Pelikanos, Greece opened in July 2010.
The total number of Resorts at present is 15 with another 6 under construction in the Philippines, Fiji, Dubai and another in Bali and a joint venture in the Bahamas.
Today, The Karma Royal Group is a $55 million business.
John Spence – 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
John Spence was selected as 2010 Ernst & Young Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year in a nation-wide competition among Australia's best and brightest businessmen and businesswomen. "Karma Royal Group has taken on the big, global hotel brands and put a footprint in this very competitive market," said Catherine Brenner, Chair of the Judging panel. Brenner added that she was particularly impressed by the focus and quality of Karma Royal Group's clear strategic direction. "Typical of many successful entrepreneurs, John Spence has seen opportunity where others did not. Most people would have looked at the global up market hotel sector and decided it was a saturated market. John looked at it differently and saw opportunity."
John will represent Australia in the World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo in 2011.
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