Personal Travel Manager Praised for ‘Heroic” Support of Stranded Athletes

Personal Travel Manager Praised for ‘Heroic” Support of Stranded Athletes

Featured photo: PTM Mo Hosea reports new business enquiries have doubled thanks to his role in getting Cook Islands rugby league players to the Pacific Games.

TravelManagers’ Mo Hosea was enlisted by the Cook Islands’ Sports and Olympic Committee to manage the travel arrangements of around 150 athletes, games attendees and officials heading to the 2023 Pacific Games. This included a group of 28 Cook Islands rugby league nines players and supporters whose carefully laid plans were thrown into disarray when the second leg of their journey, from Auckland to Nadi, was cancelled due to Cyclone Mal.

Hosea, who is originally from the Cook Islands (Aitutakian/Manihikian/Maukean/Rarotongan) but is now based as a personal travel manager in Banksia, WA, received news of the cancellation at 2am local time, and immediately swung into action on creating a viable alternative.

As with any disruption to a client’s travel plans, Hosea says his challenge was how to find a solution that was efficient, would get them to their destination safely and in the least stressful way, and with minimal additional cost – ideally while keeping the group together.

“For such a large group, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do at the very last minute,” Hosea adds. “Because of the cyclone, the most direct route was no longer an option. As well as the new flights, there were many other components that needed to be brought together, including transfers and accommodation enroute to Honiara.”

In what he describes as his biggest challenge in seventeen years of selling travel, Hosea worked virtually around the clock for the next 72 hours, sifting through possible scenarios while remaining in constant contact with airlines and team management.

“I am so grateful that they put their trust in me to get it done – they were flying each sector on faith, trusting me to have their next leg sorted whilst they were in the air,” he says. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support I received from TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office, especially Fares and Ticketing Manager, José Cañas.”

The group arrived in Honiara a day ahead of the Games’ opening ceremony, two days before their first match. Hosea says Cook Islanders from around the globe also rallied to support the team, hosting the group in both Canberra and Brisbane, providing accommodation en route and even carrying out fundraising activities to help cover the costs.

“It was a proud Kuki moment to see our people in the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia all come together to aid our team and people. The resilience of this group and their management team has been amazing to witness.”

Players and supporters have flocked to social media to express their gratitude to Hosea, with team manager Wallace Aroita describing his efforts as “heroic”.

“But for me,” Hosea notes, “the best reward was watching them excel in Honiara, with the women’s team taking home gold and the men’s team winning bronze.”