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Swelling Davos crowds force WEF to propose these ‘container pods’ for staff accommodation

The Alpine ski resort of Davos
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The Alpine ski resort of Davos

The rising crowds descending on the World Economic Forum's annual summit in Davos each year are forcing the event's organizers to consider housing some staff in temporary 'container pods' as a solution to the growing accommodation crunch.

The pre-fabricated modular units are indeed being considered as one of several options for World Economic Forum (WEF) employees as of 2018, says Yann Zopf, a spokesman for the non-profit organization in emailed comments to CNBC.

However, according to Zopf, earlier attempts by the media to characterize the pods as akin to transportation boxes stretch reality.

"They are not containers actually and even less 'shipping containers' as some wrote but temporary wood structures like these," explained Zopf, indicating products constructed by Uffer as an example (shown here).

Zopf said that at the 2017 conference, as in prior years, staff would be housed in apartments although the pressure on supply is continuously augmented by an approximately 10 percent increase in WEF employees each year, some of which would be attending the summit.

The tiny Swiss mountain town of Davos – which carries the distinction of being the highest 'town' in Europe at 5,120 feet of altitude - counted a permanent population of around 11,000 residents in 2015.

The decade-long decline in population experienced by the town runs in stark contrast to the continually growing numbers of those flocking to the elite WEF gathering each year.

In addition to the more than 2,500 participants expected this year – a sharp rise from the 444 who attended the first meet in 1971 – the total crowd in Davos is expected to burgeon to around 30,000 this year, in line with 2016's numbers, once other attendees including entourages, media and technical teams and those hoping to hobnob with the world's one percent are included.

Online homestay marketplace Airbnb is anticipating welcoming double the amount of guests at this year's conference compared to last year, equating to numbers around five times higher than in a regular week at Davos, according to a spokesperson in emailed comments to CNBC.

Indeed, comparisons with regular weeks in the prestigious resort are staggering in terms of both volume and price levels.

As of the Thursday prior to the conference kick-off the following Tuesday, only one single room was shown to be available in the entire Davos ski resort.

Booking the non-refundable "budget single room" which offers a twin bed, shared bathroom and kitchen and less than 200 square foot of space would set you back £1,822 ($2,215) for the duration of the three-night conference.

However, the same abode during the following week's Tuesday to Friday period would put only a notably more gentle £158 dint in your wallet.

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