Back in the days when many WEF participants combined the annual meeting with a winter holiday, sports shops in Davos, such as that of Daniel Paschoud, boomed. The shortened four-day event, however, means that many people no longer have time to let off steam on the pistes. (Kristian Kapp, swissinfo.ch)
The Bündasport sports shop in Davos is now in its second generation, having opened 61 years ago. Owner Daniel Paschoud was born in Davos and knows what the WEF means to the village.
“The forum carries the Davos name all around the world,” he tells swissinfo.ch. “Hotels and restaurants benefit enormously. Many wouldn’t be here without the WEF.”
But there’s another side to the WEF. “During this week a lot of things are blocked. Two of the five large mountain railways are closed and the ski school has hardly any clients.”
Paschoud’s shop is also affected. In addition to winter sports clothing, he specialises in all types of skis: alpine, cross-country and of course snowboards. But during the WEF, hardly anyone hires them.
Things used to be different. Before the WEF was shortened to only four days, many VIPs would pop into to the shop, usually to hire cross-country skis. “A Chinese minister came, and so did Queen Rania of Jordan – both with loads of bodyguards who first checked the entire shop from top to bottom.”
Nowadays he says participants don’t have the time. “Their diaries are full and therefore fewer and fewer take their families with them,” Paschoud says.
“If you look at WEF week solely from a sporting and tourism point of view, it’s a washout. Those pistes that are still open are empty – the mountain railways and their restaurants too.”
But he can live with it, because he knows that as soon as the WEF circus packs up, things get better – “often the very next day”.