Davos explained: From parties to policies, a look at the WEF forum

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Davos seems made to host the world elite. The town of 10,000 people is tucked away in a picturesque Swiss ski resort that takes hours to reach by train -- unless you have a helicopter or private jet.

See Full Article

At an altitude of 1,500 metres, it's physically above much of the world.

The gathering organized annually by the World Economic Forum has become a fixture on the calendar for business executives and public figures, and has come to be known as much for the wild parties of hedge fund managers as much as the official goal of "improving the state of the world."

Here's a look at the event, how it works and what goes on.

FLAUNTING IT

Davos is nominally a gathering of leaders to network and find solutions to the world's problems. In practice, it's also an opportunity to show off. Outside the main building, where panels discuss Ebola or economic recession, the town is littered with networking parties, PR events, film screenings and art installations. Companies and countries rent entire buildings, throwing up banners and receptions to entice Davos participants to enter and to promote their image on a global stage. Though the party scene has become more sober in recent years, it's still going strong. The Japan event has some of the best food.

THE PROGRAM

The meeting is meant to bring together leaders to find solutions to global problems of all kinds. Through panels, debates and speeches, the participants exchange views and present work they've been doing. This year's program is about mastering the new wave of technological innovation, from biotechnologies to drones and cyberattacks. But it will tackle all sorts of things, from pandemics to financial markets. Executives stress the value of having so many colleagues in one place, cramming meetings into their schedule.

ACCESS

Davos works with a caste system of badges that determine your access to talks, meetings and, yes, parties. At the very top are white badges with special insignia that denote high-level participants or heads of state. These are the guests who swoop in and out for a day or two upon invitation of the World Economic Forum. Then there are white badges for participants, which provide entry to all scheduled events. The orange and violet badges follow, offering a more limited range of access.

THE CROWD

About 2,500 participants are scheduled to attend this year's Davos event. That includes 1,500 business executives, 300 public figures and some 40 heads of state. The real number of people cramming into Davos is much higher. Thousands more gravitate here in the hope of networking and coming away with important business cards or even deals. Many participants bring spouses or family to get a skiing vacation out of the trip .There's a host of support staff, including PR teams and handlers. The two main streets that run along the valley are, predictably, clogged with limos and transport vans most days and evenings.

SECURITY

The town goes into lockdown for the week of the event, and security is particularly high this year due to the recent spate of extremist attacks. Snipers sit on roofs and police with automatic weapons and guard dogs blockade the roads. The Swiss army provides aerial support while security officers trample through snow to guard the buildings' perimeters. The police say they have increased security checks in the area since November and have stepped up their presence compared with last year, mainly due to the attacks in Paris.

THE BILL

Davos is expensive. While some participants join by invitation, many pay an entry fee that can hit tens of thousands of dollars per person. Hotel rooms are booked at least a year in advance, with many people having to commute in from towns lower down the valley. The locals try to cash in on the event by jacking up their prices, sometimes by as much as three times. The cheapest room in Davos costs upwards of $500 a night. A pizza? $25.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Sobeys to sell refugee chocolatier's bars and boxes nationwide

    Economic CTV News
    A chocolate company founded by a Syrian refugee family in Antigonish, N.S. will soon be selling its products nationwide through Sobeys. After the Hadhad family’s Damascus chocolate factory was destroyed in a 2012 bombing, they fled to Lebanon where they spent three years in a refugee camp. Source
  • Alberta appeals court ruling ordering province to pay $2M over beer subsidy

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta has served notice it will appeal a court ruling ordering the province to pay just over $2 million to two out-of-province breweries over a disputed beer subsidy. The government filed the notice in Court of Queen's Bench on Monday. Source
  • Twitter suspended 58 million accounts in fourth quarter

    Economic CBC News
    Twitter suspended at least 58 million user accounts in the final three months of 2017, according to data obtained by The Associated Press. The figure highlights the company's newly aggressive stance against malicious or suspicious accounts in the wake of Russian disinformation efforts during the 2016 U.S. Source
  • Owner of Las Vegas casino where shooter stayed sues survivors of gun massacre

    Economic CBC News
    MGM Resorts International has sued hundreds of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in a bid to avoid liability for the gunfire that rained down from its Mandalay Bay casino-resort in Las Vegas. Source
  • Owner of Las Vegas casino sues survivors of gun massacre

    Economic CBC News
    MGM Resorts International has sued hundreds of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in a bid to avoid liability for the gunfire that rained down from its Mandalay Bay casino-resort in Las Vegas. Source
  • NAACP lifts travel advisory against American Airlines

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The NAACP is lifting its travel advisory against American Airlines, saying the company is making improvements that address worries about African-Americans being subject to discrimination or even unsafe conditions while flying. NAACP President Derrick Johnson made the announcement at the NAACP's national convention in San Antonio, Texas. Source
  • A founder of WestJet and JetBlue commits to order 60 A220s for new U.S. airline

    Economic CBC News
    David Neeleman, one of the founders of WestJet Airlines Ltd. and JetBlue Airways Corp., has committed to buy 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft for a new U.S. airline he's launching. A memorandum of understanding for the aircraft which was developed by Bombardier Inc. Source
  • Netflix shares plunge as streaming company sees 'hiccup' in subscriber growth

    Economic CBC News
    Netflix stocks fell more than 14 per cent Tuesday after the company announced it added fewer subscribers in the second quarter than analysts were expecting. The company also downgraded its expectations for the third quarter, but analysts are calling the results a hiccup and say the company remains a compelling investment opportunity in the long run. Source
  • Salt miners in Goderich, Ont., vote to end 12-week strike

    Economic CTV News
    GODERICH, Ont. -- Workers at a salt mine in Goderich, Ont., have accepted a new collective agreement, ending a 12-week strike. Unifor says members of Local 16-O voted Monday to accept the agreement with their employer, Compass Minerals. Source
  • U.S. and Canadian stocks creep higher at late-morning, loonie lower

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Canada's main stock index crept higher in late-morning trading, while the loonie moved lower compared with the U.S. dollar. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 3.35 points to 16,498.08, after 90 minutes of trading. Source