Did you know that 33 percent of arrivals to the Zurich Airport are entering the country for business? As BBC Travel explained, though it may not be the capital city, Zurich is home to a bustling metropolis that oversees hundreds of business meetings and operations each day. Boasting a strong economy and labor force, Switzerland is a particularly rich place for business. If you frequently travel internationally as a part of your quarterly agenda, you'll likely find yourself in this Swiss region sooner rather than later.
Before you pack your briefcase and carry-on bag, be sure to brush up on these four considerations for your business trip to Zurich:
1. Promptness is key
According to The Business Travel Magazine, the Swiss are known for arriving to their appointments, lunch dates or business meetings at the exact clock stroke of the proposed meeting time. While some countries are known for their lackadaisical notions of timeliness, Switzerland is far from laid back when it comes to punctuality. If you are in Zurich to meet with current or potential clients, promptness is not just advised, it is expected. As many notorious sports coaches like to say, "If you're not early, you're late."
"Of all arriving airline passengers to Zurich, 33% are business travelers."
Similarly, business men and women in Zurich are accustomed to concise proposals and dealings, noted The Business Travel Magazine. It's best to go into a meeting slightly reserved and prepared to deliver direct, straightforward answers.
2. Trains are the best form of transportation
As one of the priciest cities in Europe, it's no wonder that cab fares are extraordinarily high in Zurich, according to the Heathrow Express Travel Guide. A 2014 survey found that it cost CHF 17.40 to travel just over a mile, which is the equivalent of $18.16. The good news is that the region's public transportation system is effective, cohesive and connected and of course, extremely punctual. One-way fares for the Swiss train average about $7.
The tram is another great option if you will be bouncing around between office buildings and lunch meetings, as it offers frequent stops around the city. Zurich is also an easy city to explore by foot.
3. Quiet exchanges are the norm
When traveling somewhere new, trying to blend in like a local is easier in some places more than others. In Zurich, with a few cultural considerations in mind, you'll be looking like a local Swiss banker in no time. First and foremost, avoid talking loudly, advised BBC Travel. People from Switzerland are known for being rather calm and exchanging words quietly, even during business meetings. It is quite unusual to hear raised voices in this country so keeping yours down will help you blend in.
The common greeting, especially among new acquaintances, is a handshake. Those more familiar or friendly with each other however, may opt for the alternating cheek kiss.
4. There is much to experience beyond Zurich
If time allows, be sure to explore a few of the vast and beautiful regions Switzerland has to offer outside of this commerce city. As Lonely Planet explained, the diverse cities and towns of this Swiss country have lots to offer. From rich architecture and medieval flare to modern art galleries and unmatched ski slopes, there is something culturally pleasing for everyone. Don't forget to sample the mouth-watering Swiss chocolates before boarding your flight home.