Reuters reports that a referendum on whether Davos-St. Moritz should bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games was narrowly rejected Sunday with 52.66 per cent of voters voting no while 47.34 per cent were in favour of bidding. The turnout was 59.14 per cent.
Bid organizers had said that the estimated investment of 4.3 billion Swiss francs ($4.55 billion) would have been repaid by a boost in tourism, adding that the bid was sustainable and environmentally friendly, and the entire country stood to benefit.
Opponents were concerned about the impact of new buildings, stadiums, ski lifts and other infrastructure on the Alpine environment. They were also concerned that the initial budget would have spiralled out of control, as invariably happens with major sporting events, reports Reuters.
A statement on the Swiss Olympic Committee website said, “the rejection of the Olympic candidacy has stopped the Graubuenden 2022 project. The Graubuenden 2022 movement regrets this decision, which ends the only pioneering large-scale project for tourism, business and sports in Graubuenden. For the Graubuenden 2022 union, the vote is a big disappointment. The debate about the project has been very intense in all the valleys and linguistic regions and across all age groups and levels of society”.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said in an interview last month that the region would be a favourite to win the bid if voters decide to back it.