The campaign to restore Corfu's old houses was launched in 2000 when Harry Tsoukalas
returned from 17 years in Australia to his
birthplace in the North West of the island.
During visits home over the years he
had noticed the gradual decline of the island's traditional villages as people moved away to the cities and resorts.
attempted to reverse this trend by involving the local people, but found that were not interested.
In another effort to save Corfu's old villages, he
contacted UNESCO, who sent a delegation to advise about grants for restoration of the settlements . But nothing came of the UNESCO visit.
Therefore, in order to promote the island's old village properties and help save them, he
residential tourism project by setting up a real estate agency to help families find their new home on Corfu
Harry's first move had come in 1997 while still in Australia, when he
set up the website www.corfurealestate.com.
Because of its high ranking in the search engines, the site quickly gained the attention of many people who up until then were not aware that houses could be bought in Corfu
for as little as 20,000 euros.
first big media success, in July 2001, came with the publication in the UK national newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, of a major article about his
Subsequently, more media success followed for Harry
, with articles in Homes Overseas Magazine
, another one in the Telegraph, and appearances on the TV shows Wish You Were Here, a Place in the Sun (twice) and Dream Moves.
Due to this high-profile promotion and lots of hard work, Harry
has so far relocated over 100 families to the island, and also found dream holiday homes for many others.
For example, early on Harry
discovered a legal loophole which has saved clients thousands of euros in taxes.
The agency also ensures that every deposit is kept safe until the sale goes through, and has found ways to guide buyers through possible pitfalls, like multiple ownership problems and tricky paperwork.
and Hilary run the agency, publish several resort-based newspapers, and for nearly two years produceed and presented Corfu Home and Away, a weekly half-hour TV show in English on Telekerkyra, a local channel.
Harry is also President of the Corfu Heritage Preservation Foundation (Hilary is a Founder Member).
and Hilary's hand-picked representatives are personally acquainted with the owners of the properties they handle, and since they have a thorough knowledge of their area can answer questions about local lifestyle and amenities.