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Built by Elena Papanicolaou, in Athens in 2014, ‘Fly Me to The Moon’ is a Destination Management Company — specializing in bespoke travel design — serving both private and corporate customer requests. Growing exclusively through word of mouth, the company is respected for its local expertise, extensive network of contacts, unparalleled attention to detail and a personalized approach to every endeavor. With customized itineraries and easy access to a 24/7 communication line, ‘Fly Me to the Moon‘ prides itself on providing each guest with the most authentic travel experience.
You founded Fly Me to the Moon in Athens in 2014, how unique is the Company in the Greek travel scene?
I believe we are unique because of who we are, why we started the company and what our mission is. I spent many years in top management positions in the corporate sector, from shipping to finance to chemical manufacturing. While pursuing a career in a very difficult business environment, traveling for individual and professional purposes has given me a deep satisfaction for all the senses, enrichment and balance. I started Fly Me To The Moon out of passion with a clear mission of sharing these feelings for my home country, Greece, with avid travelers looking for life-changing experiences that will give them a footprints in their souls — experiences that truly matter . Working on a blank canvas, without limiting ourselves to the mechanics of the sector, focusing only on creating out of the box itineraries that are far from the usual industry practices and must-do, constantly searching and monitoring and working with beauty, authenticity, imagination and attention to detail, is what defines us and makes us unique.
What is the profile of your typical clients? What specific and customized experiences are they looking for?
Our clients are well-travelled, culturally curious and sophisticated, discerning individuals with limited time to spare for research and travel arrangements. Individuals and companies who know why they travel and are looking for a professional who understands their specific needs and preferences; mitigates any risks of wrong selection and handles any issues before and during the trip, so they get the best out of their trip seamlessly and meaningfully. Most importantly, our clients know that we will always include elements that are undiscovered, truly meaningful to the place, otherwise impossible to know.
You deal with both private clients as well as corporate ones, how different are the demands?
Having been a traveler in both camps, I think the ultimate request is the same. On top, corporate travel require more meeting arrangements and off-site trips, meanwhile individuals need relaxing, thematic experiences, celebrations, etc. However, it all comes down to satisfying the basic human needs of body and soul. Relaxing, rejuvenating, enriching, giving back, connecting, are all feelings that are useful in our private lives which consequently reflect in our business lives.
You know all about Greece’s secret destinations and unparalleled experiences. Without revealing everything, can you let our readers know your three favorite exclusive travel spots?
We are lucky to be in a small but very special part of the world. Although Greece is stereotyped for its more than 6,000 islands of which only 227 are inhabited, amazingly, the mainland also offers a great variety of fun experiences from ski resorts, cliffs and creeks, to fishing villages, cities with a deep past and the longest coastline in all the Mediterranean basin. Add the history, culture, rich gastronomy, unique customs and the true Greek “Filoxenia” aka hospitality, which literally means “friendly to strangers” strongly carried over the centuries from the ancient Greeks, the choice is endless . Since there is a right place for everything and for any period of time, it is very difficult to choose just three favorites but on my top list I would include the small island of Paxos on the Ionian Seathe little sister island of Santorini Folegandros and the region of Laconia in the Peloponnese. Besides the choice of location, we love to showcase the unique elements of Greece, such as its indigenous wine culture, historic and prehistoric civilizations, contemporary craftsmen and designers, national and international festivals, scenic driving routes and There’s a lot more.
Give us an example of a “Mission Impossible” request you received that you were finally able to deliver?
Staying true to our mission and passion, nothing is impossible as long as there is respect for nature and people. It’s not in our philosophy to create fragmented experiences based on show off and extremistie, just for the sake of it. As we design the entire travel experience from start to finish, we incorporate special elements that seem to blend and complement each other. Our clients usually tell us why they travel and leave the rest to us e.g. a surprise birthday celebration in an old monastery on a desert island, a 4×4 road trip in the deep Natura region of Pindos, a senior partner and BoD offsite in a remote ancient settlement, a journey to the ancestors of diaspora Greekswhose family left Greece in the 1800’s.
You also have the ability to arrange customized yacht charters for sea lovers and families, is that right?
Yes, absolutely and private yacht cruises is one of the top experiences we offer. We have a great list of yachts that we charter for our clients both motor yachts and motorsailers. The seas of Greece are incomparable compared to the entire Mediterranean and the options are endless. From cosmopolitan islands like Mykonos, Corfu and Santorini to secluded desert islands, sea caves, fish taverns on the water and trendy beach clubs. Apart from breathtaking sunsets and spectacular full moons you will almost certainly see dolphins and sea monks swimming by.
How can your guests better appreciate the rich Greek culture and authentic elements of the local “Art de Vivre”?
We at Fly Me To The Moon can be proud to always introduce and immerse our guests in culture, art, gastronomy and the Greek way of life — that is exactly “joie de vivre”. We always emphasize the element of topicality in our itineraries. We inform our visitors about the history and characteristics of the locations they visit; we bring them to meet local artisans and craftsmen and introduce them to the authentic gastronomy and products of the PDO. We suggest that they follow the traditional celebrations, use the best experts to guide them to the sites and understand the continuity from the past to the present; we network with people who may have similar interests (in archaeology, gastronomy, nature activities, etc) at home dinners and much more.
Three words to describe the values that Fly Me to The Moon has always put in place?
Passion, Personality, Respect.
When is the best time to visit Greece?
There are different locations and experiences perfect for every day of the year. It all depends on what people are looking forr.
Would you like to name a Greek historical figure who inspired you and continues to inspire you in your life?
Another tough choice with a massive historical legacy but I’m going with pre-history: Achilles – for his courage and empathy, uncompromising stance on life and staying true to his values.
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