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Emotional impact key to Olympic bid



Graubünden Olympic bid

Graubünden Olympic bid

(Keystone)

The economic benefits of staging the Winter Olympics are hard to gauge, but general well being would be boosted, according to Swiss Sports Minister Ueli Maurer.

A debate at the Open Forum - a public WEF event - looked at the pros and cons of hosting a mega sporting event. Switzerland is poised to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Maurer ducked questions on how the event could benefit - or burden - Switzerland financially. The government has pledged SFr30 million to the bid and to underwrite SFr1 billion of potential losses.

In Maurer's words, while the "hardware" (finances) are difficult to predict, the "software" elements (emotional and reputational) would certainly be positive for the country.

St Moritz is still famed for hosting the 1928 and 1948 Olympics, while tourism is bound to get a boost, he added.

The panel was reminded about the financial catastrophes of the Athens (2004) and Montreal (1976) summer Olympic Games. However, there have also been plenty of good stories, including London last year.

Voters in canton Graübunden will vote on whether to proceed with the bid in March.

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