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14 Mar 2018

BY Tom Parry

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Harry Goodman warmly remembered as 'true legend' of travel industry

Industry icon Harry Goodman, who died this week aged 79, will be remembered as a "real giant", a "true legend" and a travel industry "trailblazer".

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Industry remembers package holiday 'trailblazer' Harry Goodman

Tributes to the pioneering founder of International Leisure Group, who died on holiday in Tenerife on Monday (March 12) after suffering a heart attack, have flooded in.

 

His daughter, Naomi Tolson, told TTG the support that flooded in from the industry had meant a great deal to her family: “I’m so glad Dad knew how much he was loved,” she said.

 

Considered by many as the godfather of the low-cost package, through his creation of Intasun, Club 18-30 and budget carrier-forerunner Air Europe, Goodman sent millions on holiday from the 1970s until ILG’s collapse in 1991.

 

The mastermind behind a host of travel brands, Goodman left school at 16 and went on to become a multi-millionaire, launching the careers of a host of current senior travel leaders.

 

Jo Rzymowska, vice-president and managing director Celebrity Cruises, UK, Ireland and Asia, joined Intasun in 1982 – her first job in travel.

 

“I started as a resort rep in Majorca during summers and Austria during winters, and he truly gave me my first break,” she told TTG.

 

“He made me realise that anything is possible if you are hungry enough – a true legend.”

 

'A real giant, a pioneer and a trailblazer'

'A real giant, a pioneer and a trailblazer'

Brian Young, G Adventures’ managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa, was also given an early repping role in travel by Goodman – at Club 18-30 in 1988 – and described Goodman’s approach as “light years ahead” of rivals.

 

"Harry proved time and again how astute he was in business, and look at how many key figures have come from our time and education working within his organisations,” Young said.

 

Another former ILG rep, Chris Oakes, now head of sales at Faremine, called Goodman “a real giant, a pioneer and a trailblazer”.

 

Former TTG reporter Dave Richardson interviewed Goodman in 2016 for his book, Let’s Go!, on the history of the package holiday.

 

Richardson considered Goodman’s “greatest innovation” to be offering packages to Florida from just £139 a week in 1979.

 

“TTG’s headline at the time read ‘US package holidays for the masses’,” he said.

 

After ILG failed in 1991, blamed by Goodman on the impact of the first Gulf War, he bounced back with TV Travel Shop in 1998, and later ran a cruise agency before retiring.

 

Trevor Davis, who worked with Goodman and is now managing director of 3FOR, organised a gathering to mark the 25th anniversary of ILG’s collapse, with TTG as media partner.

 

“We had people flying in from all over the place just to see Harry,” he recalled.

'He truly shaped the British travel industry'

'He truly shaped the British travel industry'

Former ILG employee Anthony Leyens, now chief executive of travel and lifestyle publisher APL Media, said: “I was terribly sad to hear the devastating news on Harry Goodman passing away.

 

"He played a huge part in my early career in the travel business as we worked together for 10 years at Intasun/ILG.

 

“Only three weeks ago we had meeting at my office and he was as sharp as ever and we reminisced for hours. Harry was a total legend in so many ways and was a true power house and innovator in taking risks and leading from the front.

 

“He was an inspirational man and a true visionary who I know will be missed by so many and has left an unforgettable legacy. My thoughts at this sad time go out to [Goodman’s wife] Yvonne, [daughter] Debra, Naomi and [son] Jonathan.”

 

White Hart Associates' Chris Photi described how he believed Goodman had left “an enduring legacy” on the UK travel trade.

 

“Harry Goodman may not be well known to many younger people within the industry but was an individual who truly shaped the British travel industry," he said.

 

“Many senior travel figures site him as a mentor and will be deeply saddened by his passing."

 

Paul Riches, sales director of Bedswithease and ex-Club 18-30 staff during the Goodman era, added: “I never really worked directly with him, so only observed him from afar. A colourful visionary character will be how I remember him.”

 

It is hoped Goodman’s funeral will take place in Bushey, Hertfordshire, early next week.

Harry Goodman: The life of an industry legend

1938: Born November 12 in London’s East End

 

1954: Leaves school aged 16 to work as a counter clerk at a travel agency

 

1962: Set up first tour operation, Sunair Holidays, aged 24

 

1969: Sells Sunair

 

1973: Founds Intasun, which later became the iconic International Leisure Group (ILG)

 

1979: Intasun announces Miami package holidays from just £139 for a week’s break

 

1979: Goodman sets up charter carrier Air Europe, the first of its kind

 

1985: Intasun is renamed ILG and acquires tour operators Global, Lancaster, Club 18-30 and NAT

 

1990-91: Gulf War hits European flights; ILG collapses

 

1991-97: Goodman’s self-proclaimed “wilderness years”

 

1998: Returns with TV Travel Shop, sold in 2002 for £70 million

 

2011-12: Troubled Totally Travel and 1st4cruising ventures prompt retirement

 

2018: March 12 – Harry Goodman passes away, aged 79

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