World Economic Forum 2021 weighs venue options amid report of move to Singapore

The WEF is slated to be held at the Buergenstock resort in Lucerne. PHOTO: REUTERS

COLOGNY (BLOOMBERG) - The World Economic Forum (WEF) is considering alternative locations for next year's annual gathering in light of Europe's still-high Covid-19 cases.

While the WEF is still planning to hold the event at the Buergenstock resort in Lucerne, "due to current circumstances in Europe we are looking at other options," spokesman Yann Zopf said Monday (Nov 30).

A decision will be announced before Christmas, he said.

Normally held in the ski resort of Davos each January, the 2021 edition was postponed due to the pandemic and is scheduled for May at the Buergenstock.

But Swiss media in recent days said the WEF is looking at sites in other countries. CH-Media reported on Monday that Singapore would be the alternative location.

According to a spokesperson from Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, the WEF has had preliminary meetings with Singapore agencies on hosting its annual meeting.

"No decision has been made on Singapore hosting the event at this juncture," the spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Straits Times on Wednesday (Dec 2).

The ministry also noted that the health and safety of people living in Singapore and the event attendees remained its foremost priority.

"Any international conference held in Singapore must adhere to strict travel and event protocols," the spokesperson said, adding that such measures had been successfully piloted at recent events such as the Singapore International Energy Week 2020 and TravelRevive 2020.

WEF had declined to reveal more details when contacted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, saying it is focused on planning for the meeting in Lucerne.

The annual gathering attracts political leaders including US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as a parade of billionaires, executives and celebrities to debate global challenges.

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