Chesterfield News


College students help opera superstar to tour the world

When staff and students from Chesterfield College’s travel agency, Explore, were asked to make some travel arrangements for local opera star Carly Paoli from Mansfield, they never imagined that 3 years later they would be her travel agency of choice helping her perform all over the world with some of the biggest names in opera.

Carly Paoli is making huge waves in the world of classical crossover music and has even performed with world famous opera singers Bocelli and Carerras. She’s had some very high profile audiences including Mohammed Ali, HRH Prince of Wales and Pope Francis.

Her hectic performance schedule has taken her to Los Angeles, Canada, Kuala Lumpur, Florence, Rome and Monaco, to name just a few. Over the years this has given the team at Explore some exciting tasks to complete including arranging travel and accommodation for a 28 piece orchestra, from all over the world, for rehearsals and a performance in Monaco.

Carly’s mum, Tina Hopkinson, an ex-travel agent herself, now has the huge job of making sure her daughter and the musicians she works with get to all the places they need to be at the right time, for the right price. She chose to use Explore to help her with this huge task because she knew the staff had the industry expertise to handle the unusual requests.

Students work alongside Explore managers to organise Carly’s exciting travel plans giving them the opportunity to experience the intricacies of organising tailor-made travel arrangements. Tina used to train new recruits in her job as a travel agent so knows the value of developing new recruits to the industry.

She told us:
“The team at Explore are very efficient and the staff are very experienced. I know I can rely on them to help me manage Carly’s travel arrangements. My requests aren’t always straight forward; I’ve given them some challenges over the years. Finding a travel agency who understand the demands we are under and can deliver is really important. They do a great job and it feels good to know that we are helping the next generation of travel experts get some experience too.”

Carolyn Paisley, Travel Manager at Explore said:
“The reason we set Explore up in college was to make sure our students were getting real industry experience to prepare them for the world of work. Working with us to help clients like Carly and Tina who have more unusual and complicated travel requirements gives students a chance to test different skills, including maths and English when planning transfer details around the world. It’s also really exciting to know that we are playing a part in helping Carly take her amazing talent to audiences across the world.”

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