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President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the U.S. delegation’s participation in Davos created a rare commodity days before the start of the World Economic Forum — vacant hotel rooms.
Trump canceled the planned trip of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the rest of the U.S. delegation to the Swiss mountain resort to deal with the U.S. government shutdown, meaning hundreds of hotel rooms are suddenly free, Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reports. Now, some of those on long waiting lists may be in for a pleasant surprise.
Some who already have rooms may still benefit, particularly those who had sought 4-star or 5-star accommodations and had been relegated to cheaper hotel. Others forced to reserve in surrounding towns may also get lucky, the newspaper reported, citing Ernst Wyrsch, President of Graubuenden’s Swiss Hotel Association.
U.S. bookings at the event included $231,855 worth of rooms at the 3-star Madrisa Lodge in Klosters-Serneus and a booking worth $103,935 at the 5-star Hotel Quellenhof in Bad Ragaz, the newspaper reported, citing figures from a U.S. government database. Rooms at the Madrisa Lodge are now available on Booking.com from Jan. 22, when the forum starts, from a starting at a price of 2,305 francs ($2028) for one person.
Participation at the meeting is capped at 2,500 official guests, but thousands more descend on Europe’s highest town in January because of surrounding WEF events. The World Economic Forum has even considered housing its staff in temporary containers to reduce the perennial lodging crisis during the annual meeting.
This year, it’s not only the entire U.S. delegation not making an appearance, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron are also ditching Davos as are both are dealing with a crisis in their respective countries.
The cancellations may be a boon for some of the town’s hoteliers: cancellation fees at this stage are likely 100 percent of room prices, so refunds for the Americans are unlikely, Tagi reported, citing Wyrsch. This means the hotels may be able to sell their rooms twice this year, the newspaper said.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.