Davos: What you need to know

Davos town
Wedged between the Swiss mountains, Davos can get very cold and snowy -- good boots are a must.

Political leaders, CEOs and celebrities are gathering in Davos next week to discuss the world's most pressing issues.

Here is what you need to know about the world's most exclusive meeting:

It's huge: Around 2,500 participants from 140 countries, including 40 heads of states, attend the gathering, formally known as the World Economic Forum annual meeting.

It takes place in the mountains: At 1,560 meters above the see level (5,120 feet), Davos is Europe's highest town. It's population is just over 11,000 and the average temperature in January is -5°C/23°F.

Why in such a remote, cold place? Tradition. Also, it's much easier to secure a little town wedged between the mountains than a conference center in a big city -- remember, 40 heads of states are coming.

Only once was the annual meeting held outside of Davos: In 2002, in New York, as a gesture of solidarity after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Related: Davos just got a whole lot more expensive

It's safe: The organizers don't release specific information, but it is estimated that around 5,000 Swiss troops, police and security personnel guard the town.

It's pricey: The ticket is around $20,000 and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Travel can cost thousands, and a night in a medium-range hotel is around $600. Add to it dining, wining, and essential accessories like snow boots, and the total bill can add up to around $40,000.

It's green: The town's CO2 levels fall on average up to 30% during the annual meeting, thanks to controls on vehicle emissions and the use of electric transport.

What is it for? Hundreds of high-profile meetings take place in Davos. With all major companies, countries and media represented, there is hardly a better opportunity to schmooze and make deals.

But the forum is not about big public announcements. Meetings are informal and take place behind closed doors.

Who is coming? Nearly everyone who matters in the world of business. Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt, will be there, as will Mary Barra, Satya Nadella, Jack Ma and dozens of other CEOs.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is coming for the first time, and Angela Merkel will be back after missing last year's meeting. John Kerry will represent the U.S.

Royals including the King and Queen of Jordan will be there, as well as celebrities including tenor Andrea Bocelli and singer Will.I.Am.

They'll all be closely followed by around 250 journalists -- 35 of them from CNN.

Who is not coming? Neither Barack Obama nor Vladimir Putin are coming to Switzerland. And contrary to some rumors, the Pope is also not expected.

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