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Q&A: Tina James, Headwater MD

Time at Headwater: 26 years.

Role: Managing Director.

Favourite Headwater holiday: Undiscovered Southern Catalunya Cycling.

 


1. What are your main responsibilities at Headwater?

Essentially, the buck stops with me. I am responsible for the performance of the company, and overall strategy. I make final business decisions, implement the company policy (and any changes to it) as well as being the guardian of the Headwater brand.

2. What makes Headwater stand out from competitors?

Our level of attention to detail. We want to ensure that every single customer has the best possible experience in the region they’re visiting. From the local food, drink and accommodation to the regional culture, carefully planned, interest-packed routes and customer service. This philosophy started over 30 years ago with our founders Richard and Christine Bass and is still absolutely key for us today.

Unlike some of our competitors, we have our own Headwater-employed representatives (reps) in resort in 15 regions in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Bavaria. This unique service means you’ll receive 24/7 support, be met on arrival, have your luggage and any wine/cider purchases transported between hotels for you and be able to take advantage of their valuable experience.

3. What’s the best holiday you’ve been on and what made it so special?

It has to be New Zealand in 2009, over Christmas and New Year. I travelled for five and a half weeks with my husband, Mike – there was a “wow!” around every corner.

4. What has kept you working at Headwater for 26 years?

Travel is an ever-changing industry, and it is this that has kept me interested for many years. Every day at work is different and I can never guarantee what I’m going to be doing. I also love the product and they are the type of holidays that Mike and I enjoy.

5.  How do you recharge after a busy week?

I try to switch off by socialising with friends, watching TV or going for a walk (usually featuring a pub en route!).

6. ‘Beach bum’ or ‘culture vulture’?

Hmm, a difficult one. This all depends on where I am – for example, in Mauritius I would most definitely be a ‘beach bum’, in Croatia on the other hand, I would be a mix; dipping in and out of the sea as I felt like it.

7. What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Shopping for clothes and shoes, skiing in the Alpe d’Huez in France, walking and cycling, food and wine, watching films and reading books.

8. If you are going walking or cycling in England, where do you head?

Northumberland for walking – it has huge beaches, well-detailed paths and fantastic castles.

It would be great to have this area in the Headwater portfolio in the future. The South West, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall for cycling – beautiful coastal scenery.

9. Do you have any pet hates?

Untidiness and disorder.

10. What is your biggest weakness?

I’m a bit fiery. I show my frustrations. I also can’t resist good wine and food!

11. Describe yourself in 3 words…

Honest, hardworking and impatient.

12. Favourite film of all time?

Dirty Dancing.

13. Sweet or savoury?

The chocolatier the better, but I do love a good pork pie!

14. Which Headwater holiday is on your bucket list and why?

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a Francophile. However, I would love to return to Southern Catalunya and experience it with my husband, this time at a more leisurely pace, to really appreciate what it has to offer. For me, it has everything you’d want from a destination: sea, beaches, mountains, lovely hotels, great people, and easy access to Barcelona.

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