The World Economic Forum will kick off in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday evening. Fondly know as Davos, the annual event brings together politicians, chief executives, heads of states from the G20, academics, writers and celebrities together to socialize and share ideas in the Swiss Alps.
There are 2,600 delegates, including 1,600 business leaders, from 100 countries and the attendee list is by invite-only. For this years’, 700 of them are estimated to come from the U.S.
This includes the following: John S. Watson of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Michael S. Dell of Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Kenneth C. Frazier and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYS: PEP), Muhtar A. Kent of The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), Mike Duke of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).
Bankers make up the largest group and from the U.S it includes Brian T. Moynihan of Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) and Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS).
But this special invite aka “white badges” comes at a hefty price.
According to CNN, unless you’re media covering the event, an academic, a faith leader, a Young Global Leader (young people with great potential selected by the WEF from all fields of business), a social entrepreneur or from an NGO, then get ready to shell out some cash to attend: the average cost for a business to send a delegate is near $40,000.
This can be broken down into travel, lodging, outfits and having a plan once you get there.
Let’s start with travel.
Davos isn’t exactly a bustling, international hub for travelers, but a small ski resort in the Swiss Alps. It is 150 km (93 miles) southwest of Zurich , for travelers coming in from New York on a business class ticket, expect to spend $4,200 to $5,300.
Flying from Tokyo? Delegates may pay between $7,200 to $10,500, while a Johannesburg, South Africa delegate pays less–$4,150.
One option is a limousine ride that may cost 650 Swiss Francs ($689) for a one-way ride but a faster route, by helicopter, will cost approximately $9,500 for a return flight, reported CNN.
Then there’s lodging.
This crowd will like a nice luxury hotel, but unfortunately delegates’ options are limited for big hotels. A room in a three-star hotel is around 500 Swiss Francs ($530) per night.
Should you open up the corporate wallet more, there’s an option to rent an apartment or chalet. A chalet that sleeps up to ten people can cost as high as 60,000 Swiss Francs ($63,600) for a week. Catering may be included.
But equally important for this trip is the right clothes.
Yes, delegates you’re in the mountains and it’s January. It’s going to be cold. At 5,052 ft (1,540m) above sea level, temperatures average -6 degrees Celsius (21.1 degrees Fahrenheit).
Packing thermal underwear, winter jackets and snow boots is required. These are must-haves in the evenings for cocktail parties and dinners when temperatures fall. It common to see $2,000 suits coupled with snow boots around the main spot, the Congress Center.
And a final cost for this four-day boondoggle, is the additional passes for forums. New York Magazine cites the forum “Strategic Partners” with a $500,000 cost for the five-delegate attendees.
When it’s all done, CNN places a $40,000 price tag to attend.