<p>The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos brings together thousands of the world’s leaders.</p>
Photo: Faruk Pinjo/World Economic Forum

Guide to the World Economic Forum

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos brings together thousands of the world’s leaders.

Published at: 5 Apr 2018
Last updated at: 9 Nov 2023

The World Economic Forum (WEF) was established as a not-for-profit foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1971. It's mission is to improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The annual forum is held at the end of January in the small Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Serena Norton
Serena Norton

Who goes to the World Economic Forum?

Around 3,000 delegates from over 120 countries attend the annual meeting. These include some of the world’s most powerful politicians and many of the heads of the world’s largest companies. In the past WEF has hosted, among many others, Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Donald Trump.

Why does the World Economic Forum matter?

WEF aims push back against inequality and raise worldwide issues. Each year, the Forum adopts a theme as a starting point for discussion. In 2017, the theme was “Responsive and responsible leadership” whilst in 2018 the meeting centred around “Creating a shared future in a fractured world”, with WEF identifying a number of fractures in global politics, economics and society that need attention.

The forum includes more than 400 sessions focusing on international collaboration as a way to approach and solve crucial global issues. It is also seen as an exclusive networking opportunity.

"Progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change." WEF

What does Davos offer?

Ultimate Guide to Davos
View of DavosPhoto: DDO/Marcel Giger

The highest city in Europe, Davos is famed for its diversity in sport, leisure and cultural offerings. Many delegates attending WEF arrive early or stay on afterwards in order to enjoy the vast and varied ski area of Davos-Klosters. With four mountains to choose from, there are runs for all abilities.

The city has excellent sports facilities including Europe’s biggest natural ice rink and there are plenty of attractive walks to enjoy.

Where to stay during the World Economic Forum

Accommodation for the World Economic Forum
Penthouse Elbert Lodge in DavosPhoto: Penthouse Elbert Lodge, Davos

There is plenty of superb accommodation in Davos whether you are looking for a five-star ski-in/ski-out chalet like Tivoli Lodge or a cosy retreat close to the WEF centre. Chalet Chocolate Box is another fantastic option if you wish to escape from the hustle and bustle of the forum. For incredible mountain views, Chalet Jakobshorn is the perfect choice.