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WEF annual event should stay in Switzerland, say parliamentarians

In a letter addressed to Economics Minister Guy Parmelin, several Swiss parliamentarians have sounded the alarm over rumours that the World Economic Forum (WEF) could hold its annual event in Singapore due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Switzerland.

The letter obtained by Swiss media agency Tamedia on Wednesday warned that hundreds of jobs are at stake if WEF abandons the Alpine nation for its annual event.

The elite gathering is usually held in the winter holiday destination of Davos in late January. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the WEF announced it was postponing the 2021 edition to May and was considering holding the event in another part of Switzerland, specifically the central cantons of Nidwalden and Lucerne.

A few days ago, rumours began circulating in the Swiss media that the WEF is considering moving the event to Singapore due to concerns over the epidemiological situation in Switzerland.

In the letter, some 20 parliamentarians from central Switzerland – mostly from centre-right and rightwing parties – called on the federal government to work to ensure that the annual event takes place in central Switzerland for the benefit of the region and all of Switzerland. The tourism industry in central Switzerland, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, had placed high hopes on the WEF 2021.

They write that it is incomprehensible that the WEF would turn its back on the country as it is thanks to the cooperation of Switzerland that the WEF has become what it is today.

In an interview over the weekend, WEF founder Klaus Schwab described the coronavirus situation in Switzerland as difficult. He also indicated that WEF’s presence in Switzerland was not certain.

WEF says its flagship event that attracts thousands of politicians, businesspeople and civil society leaders contributes tens of millions of francs each year to both Davos and the Swiss economy as a whole. Many hotels and restaurants rely on the annual influx of wealthy participants for a large slice of their income.