World Economic Forum scraps 2021 Davos conference amid coronavirus

The World Economic Forum has canceled next year’s conference in Davos, Switzerland amid the coronavirus pandemic — but the annual event may take place elsewhere, according to reports.

The international business group recently told the town’s hotels in a letter that it would not hold its 2021 conference there, Swiss media reported Tuesday.

“As things stand today, the WEF 2021 in Davos will unfortunately be completely canceled,” Davos tourism official Reto Branschi told the Südostschweiz newspaper.

The revelation followed the Geneva-based WEF’s late August move to postpone the meeting — which attracts corporate and government leaders from around the world — from January to early summer because of COVID-19 concerns.

The organization is now looking for a different location in Switzerland to host the conference, according to Südostschweiz, which reported that most of the Alpine resort town’s hotels would be closed during the late spring and early summer months.

“We were somewhat surprised by this letter,” Tamara Henderson, president of Hotel Gastro Davos, a local hotel industry group, told Switzerland’s Keystone-ATS News Agency. “We feel left out and we want more clarity in the future.”

The World Economic Forum did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning. The group said last month that it would share details about its postponed 2021 conference as soon as it could “guarantee the health and safety of our participants and the hosting community.”

“The decision was not taken easily, since the need for global leaders to come together to design a common recovery path and shape the ‘Great Reset’ in the post-COVID-19 era is so urgent,” the group said in a statement. “However, the advice from experts is that the forum cannot do so safely in January.”

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