Harry Goodman, one of the most influential figures in the UK travel industry over the past 50 years, has died aged 79.
The founder of Intasun parent International Leisure Group, Goodman pioneered low- cost package holidays and created a number of iconic travel brands.
His airline Air Europe was widely seen as the forerunner of the budget scheduled airlines of today.
Goodman founded Sunair Holidays at the age of 24, and with it became the first major entrepreneur in a travel industry which until then had been regarded as dull and conservative.
In 1970 Goodman created and built the business that came to define the package holiday market – Intasun, which eventually became ILG.
ILG became the second largest UK tour operator and pioneered the Florida boom in 1979, bringing mass-market travel to UK holidaymakers as never before.
In-house carrier Air Europe was the earliest low-cost airline, becoming the first pan European airline with bases in all major UK airports as well as Madrid; Palma, Italy, Germany and Scandinavia.
Goodman saw his empire crumble in 1991 as a result of the first Gulf war, but he left a legacy that included many of today’s leading travel bosses who worked under Goodman in the 1980s.
As the industry evolved Goodman continued to reinvent himself. In 1997 he founded TV Travel Shop which was the world’s first 24/7 TV channel selling holidays direct to the public and was sold in 2002 to IAC Corporation.
In 2005 he entered the cruise market, purchasing the Retail Travel Division of Page & Moy and founding Totally Travel whose major brand is 1st4cruising.
In tandem with an unparalleled career, Goodman raised significant money for charitable causes.
As Chief Barker of the Variety Club of Great Britain he raised more than £20 million for disadvantaged children in the UK.
Goodman will be remembered for inspiring and influencing many of today’s travel entrepreneurs and industry leaders, who regarded him as one of the sector’s true founding fathers.
The way it was in Goodman’s era
Operators sold 60,000-70,000 holidays the day brochures came out, and stood to lose “hundreds of thousands of pounds” if not on sale. Holidaymakers queued at agents’ doors to book on the day.
Holidaymakers in the late 1980s paid up to £250 for a 14-night package in Europe and about £360 for a Florida package.
Communication with overseas resorts was often by Telex, with international phone lines not always available in resorts such as Hammamet, Tunisia. In the 1980s, the fax was the “next big thing”.
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