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Yammas! GIC celebrates 40 years of villa holidays

In 1969, the first man walked on the moon, a loaf of bread cost a shilling and Greek Islands Club (GIC) was established! The exclusive villa operator, which now offers over 200 secluded villas throughout the Greek Ionian and Aegean islands, started its programme on Paxos in 1969, just two years after electricity arrived on the island.

Says David Watrous, Managing Director: "In 1965, my parents visited the Ionian islands of Greece aboard a friend's yacht. They were so enchanted that they returned and built a house among the olive groves on the small island of Paxos."

When electricity was brought to the island in 1967, we were given the opportunity to renovate some of the local village houses in order to accommodate friends, and friends of friends. Our first transfers from Corfu to Paxos used to take five hours on a small caique! From these humble beginnings, GIC has grown into a successful business offering an eclectic range of individual island properties for those looking for a more private escape away from the crowds.

To mark its 40th anniversary, GIC is offering its longest-standing client a holiday for two people at 1969 prices. Mrs Andie Walker, from Dorset, who has been holidaying with GIC to Paxos for 29 years, will travel for just £150 with her two sons (one of whom will pay full price). The 2009 price is £794 pp.

The first villa operator to offer properties on Ithaca and Kefalonia, GIC also remains the only company to feature properties on Anti Paxos, a tiny and delightful vineyard island with glorious sandy beaches and just 30 inhabitants. Other island destinations now include Corfu, Lefkas, Meganissi, Alonissos, Skopelos, Skiathos, Crete and Santorini and the choice of villas is wide: a mountain-top retreat, a simple town house close to the waterfront, a luxury villa with direct access to the beach and a beautifully restored Venetian manor house are just a handful of the properties on offer.

Prices for Villa Metaxa on Paxos, a traditional island house which has featured on GIC's programme for 30 years, start at £623 pp (two sharing) including return flights (Gatwick), transfers, a complimentary welcome pack and a maid service and linen change twice a week.

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