WEF postpones Davos 2021 over coronavirus fears

The World Economic Forum has abandoned plans to hold its annual meeting in the Swiss mountain town of Davos next January, pushing the landmark event in global power brokers’ calendars back to the summer of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman, told the Financial Times in June that there was “enthusiastic support” among its members for holding the meeting at its usual time, touting the idea as part of a necessary return to “a new normality”. 

On Wednesday, however, WEF managing director Adrian Monck said it had received expert advice that it could not safely hold the event in January.

The WEF, which is run as a not-for-profit organisation, said in its last annual report that the Davos meeting generated 13 per cent of its SFr344m ($378.5m) revenues in 2019, warning that a cancellation “could have negative consequences on the foundation’s revenue”.

The forum is one of many organisations whose finances depend heavily on their annual gatherings, and are now scrambling for ways to replace the lost income. Conference industry executives say that attendees have been reluctant to pay as much for digital events as for the chance to network in person.

The WEF’s 2020 annual meeting took place as business leaders…

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