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Global issue 20

Arena XXX Economics Davos: king of the hill Bankers, business leaders and politicians will be flocking to the Swiss town of Davos-Klosters for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in January to chew over key trends and developments Anna Wolverine With the ski season well under way, thousands of tourists have been flocking to Switzerland’s world-renowned slopes, which are revered for relaxation and snow play. The cold season in Switzerland is always a tremendous event, with visitor numbers this year expected to be as high as ever. Winter 2014-15 marks the 150-year anniversary of the advent of cold weather tourism in Switzerland, hailed as one of the world’s top seasonal hotspots. It’s easy to see why tourists choose Switzerland as a place to spend the winter months – the indigo blue lakes, chocolate box villages and magnificent mountain summits make for as adventurous or relaxing a vacation as anyone could hope for. The Swiss are very proud of their winter tourism industry, even going so far as claiming to have invented winter tourism in the Alps. The roots of winter vacationing in the region are said to originate from the Graubünden region, which was originally visited not for its slopes, but its dazzling pure air and beautiful, sunny winter days. In 1864 Swiss hotel owner Johannes Badrutt bet a group of English summer tourists that they would enjoy a sunnier, more pleasant winter if they vacationed in the Alps. The hotel tycoon promised the group that if they stayed the winter and didn’t enjoy it, he would pay for their visit. Needless to say Mr Badrutt won his bet, and the Alps soon became a bustling hive of winter activity, with downhill skiing arriving a few decades later. The 150th anniversary of winter vacationing will not be the only thing drawing tourists to the Alps this winter, however, as January will see businessmen and women the world over congregating at the 2015 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. The meeting, colloquially known as ‘Davos’, has been held in the eastern Alps of Switzerland since the birth of the WEF in 1971. This year’s event, which will take place from 21- 52 l www.global -br ief ing.org f i rst quar ter 2015 global


Global issue 20
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