“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.