Matt Walker's Six Years with Villa!
Here what Villa's Managing Director, Matt Walker has to say about working at Villa for six years.
Our Managing Director Matt Walker reflects on six years with Villa. Read on to hear about some of his fondest memories, favourite destinations and what's next on his travel wish list!
What was the most memorable Villa tour you’ve escorted?
I don’t think there is any one tour in particular, they've all been fun and informative with great company. There are many fond memories and funny little things that happened on each tour. The story that jumps to mind at the moment was a tour I escorted to Adelaide. Amongst the highlights was a dinner at the Skyline restaurant which not only has beautiful food but pretty amazing views over the city of churches. The tour was going well, but we did have a particularly cheeky group. When we arrived at the restaurant I discovered (much to the amusement of my group) I was wearing a very similar shirt to the wait staff’s uniform. After settling my group and confirming orders I sat down, whereupon I was called to a nearby table. I got a solid talking to by a patron who told me what she thought of wait staff sitting at the table instead of doing their job. I informed her that fashion was not my strong point and that I was not employed by the restaurant. Much to her family’s horror, she firmly dismissed my explanation, asked me to hurry up and clear her table and bring back some more water, so I did. The real wait staff didn’t seem to notice. My group teased me mercilessly for the remainder of the tour – as they should.
Which tour are you most looking forward to escorting in the future?
There are loads of places I’d like to visit with a Villa group, and places I’d like to get back to, like Ningaloo Reef. But to be honest, it’s more about the people who make up your group and the fascinating stories they share throughout the journey, which stays with you long after you return home.
What are your top five favourite places in WA?
Wow, that’s a big question! I love Ningaloo Reef because it’s one of the few places in the world where you can literally wade into the water to see pristine coral reef and pretty amazing marine life. Other destinations require long and sometimes bouncy boat trips.
Kalbarri has a great mix of water activities and of course the Kalbarri National Park.
Pemberton - for the forests, local arts and crafts. And if you are really lucky you can sneak in some trout fishing.
Esperance and Bremer Bay - for the unspoilt beaches and ancient landscapes, especially the beautiful Bay of Isles.
Broome - as a winter warmer and because of the fascinating local history. There is plenty to explore close by or you can unashamedly lounge in the sunshine at Cable beach.
What destination is number one on your travel wish list?
Probably the Abrolhos Islands. We have operated escorted tours and our travel agent has booked independent holidays to the Abrolhos Islands. It is one of those destinations that Western Australians mean to do, but few actually get there. Everyone who does make the trip absolutely raves about the rich history and incredible marine life.
What are your favourite country pubs?
I am being a little parochial, but It’s hard to go past the Amelia Park Tavern in Busselton and Settlers Tavern in Margaret River!
What do you enjoy most about being Villa’s Managing Director?
Our staff and our travellers are all great people who enjoy a good laugh. When we catch up at events and expos it’s always fun. So, work is a lot of fun, challenging and very rewarding. One of my favourite tasks is reading passenger feedback forms. Travellers are very generous with their feedback and whilst it’s nice to hear the praise, it’s also great to receive pearls of wisdom to help us improve what we do.
Matt Walker Managing Director