IBTM has announced that John Volanthen (pictured above), the world-record holding British cave diver who played a major role in the astonishing 2018 Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue of the youth soccer team, will be the first keynote speaker for IBTM World 2019, which takes place at Fira Barcelona from Nov. 19-21.
Volanthen will deliver a session at IBTM World as part of the event’s Knowledge Program. Volanthen’s talk will discuss managing risk and keeping calm in a crisis, using gripping anecdotes from the hazardous rescue mission to illustrate his thoughts. He will also explain how great feats are rarely due to luck, but rather perseverance, determination and preparation. Volanthen will also share his belief that anyone can rise to the occasion and achieve extraordinary goals in the face of insurmountable odds.
In 2018, the news that a group of 12 young soccer players and their coach were stuck in a cave in Northern Thailand hit headlines across the globe. British divers were called by the Thai authorities to join a major search and rescue attempt. Volanthen, who has been awarded a George Medal for civilian courage and bravery, specializes in rescues through the Cave Rescue Organization, South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue, and the British Cave Rescue Council. His was the first voice the boys heard after nine days trapped underground.
Thought to be one of the most complex and dangerous rescues the world has ever seen, it involved navigating a grueling four kilometers through flooded dark passageways, some of which were too narrow to wear scuba tanks.
“We’re honored to have John join us this year as our first keynote speaker at IBTM World,” says David Thompson, event director at IBTM World. “Not only is his story inspiring and uplifting, but his experience can be related to so many different situations and we can apply his lessons in keeping calm and preparing well, to our everyday lives.”
Volanthen comments, “The Tham Luang Thailand cave rescue last year captivated the world for three weeks. Not only did it extend the limits of what is possible in cave rescue, but it pushed me and my team mentally. We worked tirelessly to bring those boys out alive, it’s incredible what can be achieved with calm, considered determination and thorough preparation. I hope that my knowledge following the rescue can inspire and help others in preparing for the unexpected and being resilient and adaptable when things don’t go to plan.”
IBTM, part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, is the world’s leading showcase for the meetings and events industry (also known as MICE) with a portfolio of five global and regional events providing business solutions on five continents. They include IBTM World, IBTM Africa, IBTM Americas, IBTM China and the recently launched IBTM Asia Pacific. For more info, visit www.ibtmevents.com.
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organizer, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 22 international events in 13 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf travel. For more info, visit www.reedtravelexhibitions.com.