In our latest edition of Interviews with Exceptional Travellers, we feature Jaqui Preketes, whose joie de vivre is the first thing you notice about her. Her love of life and of people makes her a perfect fit for the travel industry where she heads a well established company in Melbourne. Her interview proved our suspicions right – she’s mad about travel even after 20 odd years in the business.
Jaqui is Managing Director at Touchdown Tours, based in Melbourne, Australia.
You have been in the travel business more than 20 years. As an Exceptional Traveller, you have visited a lot of places, both popular and offbeat. Are you bored with traveling now?
Not at all! The world is constantly changing; there are always new places to discover even in the places where I’ve already been. I am still excited every time I travel.
While on a holiday, do you switch off or does your brain still automatically scout the pros and cons of every destination and hotel?
No, I can’t switch off! But you know, but it’s in a pleasant way, like a child who is discovering something new.
What is your favourite holiday destination in the world?
I actually have two favourites. One is Oman. So many things about it are wonderful – the beauty of landscape and the sincerity of people, spectacular ocean scape and the magnificent fjords quite like Scandinavia. Another thing I love is their approach to conservation, be it at the Shangri-La Resort or the turtle colonies on the beaches.
I also love the Greek islands. Each one is different from the other with its unique landscape, food and culture. I am of Greek origin born in Australia. But I am deeply connected to my Greek heritage through my mum who is from Ioannina in northern Greece.
Time is at a premium these days and people want to pack in as many trips a possible. Being a travel veteran and an Exceptional Traveller, do you have any tips to make the most of a short break?
This is a very good question. The key to a good holiday is to unwind and relax. Stick to one or two key cities/places within the country and enjoy it, rather than pack it all in. Make the most of your time, explore and fall in love with a place instead of hectic travel.
Is there a travel experience that is still unfulfilled for you?
I would have liked to work in an airline. I feel I would have enjoyed the experience.