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WEF: Army called for clearing snow, protesters

January 22, 2013 12:26 IST

WEFAs the top leaders of the world descend on this snow-laden town of Davos to discuss state of affairs of global economy, over a couple of thousand members of Swiss army are busy doing something unusual.

Rather than fighting soldiers from an enemy country, they are busy keeping snow out of the roads leading to this Alpine Swiss resort town and its Congress Centre, which would play host to over 1,500 top leaders and thousands of others, including spouses of rich and powerful, their accomplices, journalists, the organisers and support staff.

Donning heavy bright orange jackets to keep off the cold, soldiers are also seen managing the traffic in this small town that usually sees tourists in form of backpackers looking to enjoy skiing on the slopes of Alps.

At the same time, a few of them would also keep a watch on anti-WEF protesters, who have become a kind of annual feature just like WEF meeting here and had called their protest 'Occupy Davos' last year.

The streets are also full of huge banners put out by different countries like Russia, South Africa, Malaysia and Azerbaijan, explaining to global investors their growth and investment potentials.

There are large size banners, including on the city buses, about India as well, which have been put out by IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation).

This year also sees collective efforts being made about joint efforts of India and Africa to harness their potential as global investment destinations through a 'IndiaAfrica' campaign.

The locals have, however, nothing to complain as the business grows manifold during this time of the year in Davos, which derives almost all of its revenue from tourists.

No surprise that the hotel rates and taxi fares have risen 3-4 times for this week and the few retailers present on its central Promenade street are expecting robust business.

Surprisingly, 'sale' sign still dons quite a few shops, including some of Swiss designer wear and gears, which the retailers say is because of backpacker skiing tourists continuing to throng the season due to peak winter conditions.

This time of the year also marks a rare occasion for this town when choppers are often hovering it and the roads are full of limousines, while the number of taxis obviously grow manifold.

Notwithstanding minus 10-20 degree temperatures, the elite of the world come in hoards every year to discuss world economy to this otherwise non-extinct town on the global economic calendar.

And when not discussing economy, these global elite can be seen looking for economical bargains on Promenade.

Barun Jha in Davos
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