The cancellation is the second year in a row for the meeting after organisers shifted the annual meeting to Singapore in 2021, before abandoning it altogether.

The World Economic Forum says its annual meeting now planned for
The World Economic Forum says its annual meeting now planned for "early summer". (Reuters)

The World Economic Forum again delays its annual meeting of world leaders, business executives and other elites in Davos, Switzerland, amid new uncertainties about the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The forum, which repeatedly delayed, moved and finally canceled last year's event, said on Monday the previously planned January 17-21 gathering in the alpine town will now take place in “early summer” – without giving specifics.

“Current pandemic conditions make it extremely difficult to deliver a global in-person meeting,”the Geneva-based WEF said on its website.

“Preparations have been guided by expert advice and have benefited from the close collaboration of the Swiss government at all levels,” it added.

The decision comes as some countries in Europe impose new restrictions or face tough choices about what to do about rising numbers of Covid-19 infections tied to omicron. 

Switzerland is tightening pandemic curbs while not opting, for now, to enforce a stricter limited lockdown.

Digital meeting

The World Economic Forum still plans to host a “digital convening of leaders from business, government and civil society,” founder Klaus Schwab said. 

The forum said a “headline series of State of the World sessions” would bring them together online to address global challenges.

The population of the remote Alpine town of Davos swells from 10,000 to about 30,000 during the summit, where much of the action happens outside the conference at side meetings and networking events.

The media-friendly Davos confab serves as a global stage for world leaders to meet and executives to talk possible deals. 

Academics and chiefs of nongovernmental groups speak out in webcast panel sessions or comb corridors looking to rub elbows with decision-makers.

READ MORE: Does the Davos Summit serve its purpose?

Source: AP