Geneva enjoys a worldwide reputation as a conference city; it embodies the creativity of science and technology, a vigorous business sector, and has a special cultural appeal with unmistakable
flair and charm. Geneva is an ideal destination with its central location in Europe, served by an excellent transport and communication infrastructure. Draped around the deep blue waters of Lac Léman, Geneva has grown wealthy and influential as the cultural and economic focus of French-speaking Switzerland. It is also an international city and home to many global institutions
from the International Red Cross to the WHO!
HOW TO COME TO GENEVA
Located in the centre of Europe, Geneva is easily accessible by air and train from all major European cities, and there are interesting low-budget connections from several of them. The international airport is only 15 minutes from downtown. The Palexpo (Congress and exhibition Centre) can be reached walking from the airport.
GETTING AROUND IN GENEVA
Geneva’s centre is small enough to walk around. For the suburbs you will need to take a tram or bus. Daily passes are provided free of charge to Geneva hotel guests, courtesy of the Geneva Tourist Board.
CLIMATE AND CLOTHING
The mean temperature in Geneva in September is around 18 degrees Celsius.
For international calls to Geneva, dial the international code +41 and the correspondent’s number (without the 0).
CREDIT CARDS / CASH MACHINES
All major credit cards are accepted widely, but not everywhere. If in doubt, ask in advance. Cash-on-card services are available from selected American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and VisaCard addresses. These cards are also accepted by all GWK currency exchange outlets and Change Express Offices.
The local currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF). 1€=1.23 CHF (subject to change)
Please consult the Swiss Customs Regulations:
The voltage in Geneva is 220 volts. Hotels may have a 110-volt or 120-volt outlet for shavers, but travellers are advised to bring a power converter and an adapter for two-prong, round-prong plugs with side grounding
For all emergencies: 112
French is the national language of Geneva.
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE CONGRESS
The official congress language is English.
Geneva is a safe place but you should take normal, sensible precautions to avoid mugging, bag snatching and pick pocketing. You should be extra vigilant at airports and railway stations. Do not leave valuables unattended. Most shops and all major taxi companies accept credit and debit cards, so there is no need to carry a lot of cash.
The most common business hours are Monday through Saturday, 9:30 to 18:00
Different pharmacies are open around the clock on different days of the week. To find out which pharmacy is open on a particular night, visit the pharmacy nearest to you. It will have a note in the window or on the door listing the address of the emergency pharmacy. The pharmacy emergency
section in the local newspapers also have a list. Note: you might have to ring a bell for attention
out of hours, and that there is an additional charge for night and weekend services.
For a taxi, call Taxi Direct on:
Phone: +41 22 33 141 33 or +41 22 3 20 20 20
Taxis are available outside the airport and in many places inside the city.
Geneva follows Central European Time (CET) which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). At the time of the Conference, summer
daylight saving will be in operation which is two hours ahead of GMT.
You are not expected to tip on top of restaurant service charges but you can leave a little extra if you feel service warrants it. If there is no service charge, the customer should consider leaving a 10% tip, but this is not obligatory.
A travel insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is recommended. The Organising Secretariat as well as ESPEN will not be held liable for illness, accidents or thefts suffered by Participants or Accompanying Persons during the Congress or their stay in Geneva before, during or after the Congress. Participants are strongly recommended to seek insurance coverage for health and accident, lost luggage and trip cancellation.
The official Federal Customs Administration FCA app contains information about importing foodstuffs, souvenirs, etc. and is aimed at private individuals. It therefore simplifies your entry into Switzerland and helps you decide which souvenirs, electronic articles and such like to buy when you are abroad or when shopping online.
On the website, you will find out about:
Entry requirements: passport, visa, customs procedures
Shopping abroad (duty-free allowances): duty-free limits for alcohol, tobacco and foodstuffs
Crossing the border with animals and plants
Crossing the border in a vehicle
Bans and restrictions (trademark piracy, souvenirs, medicines etc.)
You will also find our information concerning online shopping and postal/courier services
HOW TO CLAIM THE TAX BACK
When you arrive at the airport you must present you tax refund cheques at customs BEFORE you check your bags in. Customs may request to check the items before they stamp your cheques. Once your cheques have been stamped by customs you can cash your cheques at any Bureau de Change in your chosen currency.
Geneva is part of the European Union. Many visitors can enter the EU countries without a visa. A valid ID card or a passport is all you need to enter Geneva. Check with the Swiss Embassy or Consulate in your own country whether you need a visa. They also have the necessary forms you have to complete. Foreign Embassies in Geneva, and Swiss Embassies abroad, at your service: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home.html/