Dimitri Tsipanitis is a Greek American who created Tzimakos Tours, an all-inclusive tour of Athens, hosted in Saronida, a beautiful seaside resort village located in-between Lagonissi and Anavyssos.
Dimitri grew up in Saronida and completed school in Greece until Year 3 when his family decided to move to America, which he found difficult at first as he didn’s speak English. But that changed for Dimitri when he was in college, as he became a top student at the university, and ever since has done his best to excel in life.
After college Dimitri got his Bachelors, worked for a non-profit, received his Masters in Healthcare Administration and later worked for a pharmaceutical company for 6 years. This wasn’t his dream though, and at the same time his family and country were having issues, and he didn’t feel comfortable with the situation.
“It bothered me that the local economy isn’t doing well. It bothered me that my sister and her family weren’t doing well, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It just seemed like everyone went from living a good life to all of a sudden people worried if they will be able to pay their rent and that really got me thinking. That is where the idea for Tzimakos tours came from,” Dimitri said.
With the little money Dimitri had, he came to Greece, fixed the properties his family owned by himself, and started the tour company. He recalls everyone telling him that they thought he was “nuts leaving my life in the US when I had a good job, to do something in Greece that a lot of people have tried.”
Tzimakos tours, which comes from the nickname everyone calls Dimitri ‘Tzimakos’, wasn’t easy but he made it happen.
Visitors of Tzimakos tours participate in a wide range of activities and have the opportunity to explore Athens, Delphi, Sounio and other towns including Saronida, where they stay in private apartments that are beach themed at an all inclusive resort.
“My town offers multiple beaches, great restaurants, and fresh food, where the fish that had just been caught is on the grill being prepared. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming if you are Greek or a visitor from another country,” Dimitri said.
Investing the small amount of money Dimitri had for the business, for himself and for the country, has been the biggest payout for him. His family and community are also involved in the business. His brother-in-law helps take visitors on tours and helps with the daily tasks, his sister helps in arranging everything and although his nieces are young, Dimitri likes to get them involved for the experience, and one day maybe continue the business. For now though they make guests feel welcomed to the family community and handwrite thank you cards. Dimitri also says that just before the tour comes to an end, they like to organise a barbecue alongside the pool, where his brother-in-law normally prepares the kotosouvli and his yiayia and other yiayias in the village cook home made dishes, that guests love so much they want to sneak extras back home.
Dimitri’s is also excited to share the news that by 2025, together with foreign investors, he will be opening two brand new all inclusive luxury hotels, one in Athens and another on a Greek island that will be announced shortly. “This huge deal will provide hundreds of jobs and the hotels will be a first of its kind in these areas,” he said.