The World Economic Forum (WEF) opened on January 20 with the global elite gathering in Davos, Switzerland, amid a backdrop of serious turmoil in world stock markets brought on by the economic downturn in China and plunging oil prices. That will surely be the big moving story this year among the business titans, political leaders and celebrities who come each January to hobnob in one of Europe’s most exclusive winter wonderlands. But market anxiety aside, plenty of ideas, glamorous happenings and provocative news will be coming out of Davos this year.
Photo Credit: Premium Switzerland
Most of the more than 2,500 delegates fly in on private jets to Zurich Airport, 100 miles northwest of Davos, helicopter over (about $10,000 round trip) or limo it (at $700 one way) to hotels such as the InterContinental, Grandhotel Belvédère and their own private chalets.
Photo Credit: Davos Klosters Tourism
The official business of this annual confab runs three days, which leaves time to relax, take a break from the weighty issues of the world and enjoy one of the most pristine mountain villages in the Swiss Alps. In addition to the lavish, corporate-sponsored dinners and parties associated with the WEF, winter sports abound. Davos was the birthplace of tobogganing, and some of the best descents in the world are nearby. Quality ski slopes are in abundance with over 200 miles of pistes and 60 lifts spread over six resorts, the best and most convenient being Parsenn. And, at the end of the day, you’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel in the area that doesn’t boast a deluxe spa.
But unless you’re a CEO or world-famous celeb like Bill Gates and Bono, it’s best to avoid the area during the week of the WEF as Davos turns into something of a forbidden city; a big, international security bubble. Better to come any other week for a regular ski holiday or summer hiking.
Here’s the latest news from WEF 2016:
Leonardo DiCaprio accepted the WEF’s Crystal Award for his charitable work on climate change. The Revenant star, hot off his recent Golden Globe win for best actor, wasted little time announcing his foundation was donating another $15 million to environmental projects, telling the audience, “We simply cannot allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity.”
Musician will.i.am, Danish artist Olafur Eliasson and Chinese actress Yao Chen also received the culturally-orientated Crystal Award.
New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first-time appearance at WEF has created the most media buzz of the 40-plus presidents and prime ministers in attendance. At 44 years old, the dynamic and young PM’s opening remarks played up his country’s potential and resourcefulness, ending with “There has never been a better time to look to Canada.”