“I enjoy everything in my life. I live in paradise and I love my job,” hotel mogul Alan Gooderson,

told guests at the launch of his book You Can’t Change History at the Tropicana Hotel on

Durban’s Golden Mile recently.

Many lessons can be gleaned from this positive and uplifting memoir and, if entrepreneurs are

looking to find their feet in the business world, this is definitely what they’re looking for – rich in

lessons that Gooderson has gifted to aspiring hoteliers and anyone who aims to shoot for the

moon and land amongst the stars.

He has been hailed as a hero by many due to his positive and encouraging nature and “heart of

a lion”. It’s said that he is a man with a true lust for life and the character to go with it.

When asked why he decided to write a book, Gooderson responded: “So many people

encouraged me to write a book and I always asked why. They said ‘well you’ve got so many

stories to tell’. I said ‘I don’t know how to go about it’, so my friends said they would find

someone to help me and they duly did!”

About 18 months ago, well known writer and blogger Graham Linscott attended a lunch hosted

by Gooderson. A number of meetings between the two followed. The rest became history and

an extraordinary success story born from humble beginnings unfolded.

By the end of 2015, the book was complete and aptly titled You Can’t Change History. It was

an incredible detailing of entrepreneurial instinct, family loyalty and a bond that created a hotel


But there is much more to the Gooderson name than hotels and resorts.

“I’m approaching 79 in April and I’ve learned from my mistakes. We all make them and, as long

as we learn from them, we can then move forward,” Gooderson said.

Asked about the current economic downturn and the effects on the Gooderson Leisure

Corporation, he replied: “Exchange rates in normal circumstances would have been positive on

the market. But our government has made a mistake and it’s only correcting now. We’ve

probably lost a year to 18 months. I think the exchange rate will get better, but we may have

missed an entire opportunity. I don’t know, time will tell.”

Gooderson – and what he describes as a very family oriented business – have ridden out

previous downturns in much the same way that Durban surfers take on waves along the


“In 63 years in business I’ve gone through several. What I’ve learnt is that, in downturns, there

are opportunities. You mustn’t moan, you must be positive, look for the other side, choose your

opportunities and go forward. Remember, so many people are down. That’s when you look for

better things on your side.”

He added that one of the highlights of his career has been seeing Durban coming together over

the years and transforming into a major entertainment hub.