Arthur Preketes (Founder 1945 – 2009)
Arthur always had a great fascination for travel, having worked for 30 years with TAA, Australian Airlines (later to become Qantas domestic), Olympic Airways and, his last airline job at JAT-Yugoslav Airlines as their Sales Manager Vic., SA & Tas for 13 years. In 1991, he proudly established his own company, Cosmos Tours, which steadily grew with his reputation for excellence and attention to detail.
In 1993, my father and I together founded Touchdown Tours (a subsidiary of Cosmos Tours) to serve the growing needs of the traveler who craves out-of-the-ordinary travel experiences. In the early 90’s, to promote destinations such as Jordan, Syria, Libya, Egypt and even Turkey was very avant-garde indeed. Whilst some of these countries may now have become main-stream, Arthur always knew the inner life of the local culture and traditions. His love encompassed the entire country, not just the popular tourist sites.
It is this in-depth knowledge and genuine care that caused Touchdown Tours to flourish, and it in this vein that the company continues in the tradition he started almost 30 years ago.
Countries visited: Tanzania, Kenya, Fiji, USA, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Greece, Dubai, Ethiopia, Japan, Croatia, Slovak Republic (then known as Chechozlovakia), Serbia (then known as Yugoslavia), Singapore, Malaysia
Jaqui Preketes (Managing Director)
As far back as I can recall my family was always travelling the world, mainly due to my father’s work with airlines, hotels and tour operators. Since his passing in 2009, I am proud to lead Touchdown Tours, keeping alive the legacy of high service standards, continual personal and professional growth, and polishing our existing and new relationships with hoteliers, airline, national tourism organisations, Consul Generals and other important tourism representatives.
My personal passion is groups – I love using my innate creativity to build unique itineraries that will create an outstanding travel experience. I particularly enjoy working with groups with a special interest focus. I have been blessed to work on itineraries for a Buddhist Psychology conference in the caves of Cappadocia, to Philosophy Tours in Lycia, and Media, Arts & Design Tours for school groups.
It is also important to point out that, I see my work as an extension of who I am and that, of course, is continuously growing and changing as I do. I strongly believe in the power of business to make a positive contribution to the ‘forgotten ones’ of our world, those who live without clean running water, those who live at or below the poverty line, those whose needs are greater than my own. A portion of Touchdown Tours profits monthly goes to organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) and Child Fund Australia to mention only a few. It is also the reason we have created our Peace Tours in Palestine and Israel.
Countries visited : Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ajman), Lebanon, Iran, Sultanate of Oman, USA, Fiji Islands, Israel, Palestine, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Scotland, Wales, Hungary.
Lizetta Preketes (Finance Manager)
I started working in the family business in 1993, after having worked in the Accounts field for various prestigious organisations such as the M.A.V. (Municipal Association of Victoria) and Nylex Pastics. The family needed someone to handle the office accounts, and I had the relevant experience.
My nickname at Touchdown Tours is “The General” so, feel free to pick up the phone and ask for me by title if you need any assistance with accounts!
Countries visited : Fiji, USA, Egypt, Greece, Dubai, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong
Joanna Paxinos (Business Development Manager)
I have worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for more than 15 years. I have always had an interest in travelling, but my first taste of international travel was at the age of 20 when I moved to China to be a management trainee at an international 5-star hotel.
Since then I have travelled extensively through Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean and Middle East. My favourite spot is Ithaca, the Greek Ionian island where my husband’s parents were born. I visited Ithaca on on my honeymoon and have dreamt about returning ever since.
At Touchdown Tours, my aim is to work with agents to help them build their businesses, educate them in some the less known destinations that Touchdown Tours covers and assist them to make sure Touchdown Tours is their first point of call for Arabian, Middle East and Mediterranean requirements.
Countries Visited : Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Greece, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, USA, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Fiji and New Zealand.
Nisha Bajaj (Travel Consultant)
I was born and raised in India. Destiny chose to bring me to Australia in 2012 and then I chose to become part of the Touchdown Tours family. It’s a pleasure, not just to work with people from different nationalities but also to sell special interest destinations.
I completed my post-graduation in finance but my passion for travelling and interest in exploring different cultures impelled me to pursue my career in the travel industry back in 2009. Since then, there was no looking back.
Building itineraries with as much attention to detail is my speciality. My thorough knowledge of and keen interest in our destinations help me to ensure that your holiday becomes a beautiful chapter in your life.
So let me be your guide to the greatest wonders that Touchdown Tours has to offer. Whether it is just accommodation or a tailor made itinerary, we always have a “Yes” attitude to all your requests.
Countries Visited : India, UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain), Sultanate
of Oman, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Australia.
Vasilis Samolis (Travel Consultant)
I was born in Duisburg, Germany. As my heritage is Greek, we would drive almost every year to Greece by crossing Germany, Austria, former Yugoslavia and Greece, finding our way down to the beautiful island of Crete, where my parents originated. I always enjoyed travelling, and would observe the diversity of every country we passed through. I would notice the natural beauty of each country, the traditions of the local people, and I was curious about their way of life.
I always dreamt of working with people from different nationalities and would always endeavour to provide the best possible information about exploring the beauty of my island, Crete.
In 1995, after returning to live on the island of Crete, I commenced working in the tourism industry, predominantly in rental cars and issuing airport and ferry tickets between the Greek Isles and overseas.
Being fluent in German and English helped me to communicate and provide my knowledge of travelling and sightseeing to my clients.
In October 2011 romance brought me to Australia, and I am discovering the beauty of this continent by travelling and exploring various parts of this great land. I am delighted to share my knowledge with clients and enjoy the challenge of trying to find the best airfares and develop itineraries for all over the world.
Countries visited : Germany, Austria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Dubai
Theodora Mikelopoulos ( Administration Assistant)
Born in Greece, I actually came to live in Australia with my family until I was a teenager. At the age of 15, I returned to Greece to continue studying and travelling around the magnificent Greek Isles, spending summers between the family homes in ancient Olympia and the pretty island of Skopelos.
My love for travelling started at a very early age, and it was this growing passion that led me to work in the travel industry for one of Greece’s most reputable tour operating companies for over 14 years. I am proud to say, it was my outstanding client service and high standards of work that gave me the opportunities to visit Greece in depth, from the most popular Greek Islands to the most remote Greek towns and villages.
In 2014, my life took a pleasant turn, and I now reside in Melbourne with my family. Earlier this same year, I was privileged to be offered a job with the brilliant team at Touchdown Tours, where I can share my knowledge from a different side of the travel industry, as well as sharing my love and passion for my Greek heritage, culture, language, tradition and, of course, my homeland Greece.
My favourite place in Greece? It has to be the town of Rethymnon in Crete, where my husband’s family are from, and where I have the fondest memories of sun-kissed days and balmy nights, walking in cobble-stoned streets and taking dips in the deep blue Cretan Sea.
Countries visited: Germany, Dubai, Cyprus, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Australia