Business Travel to Asia
Bangkok Travel News ( Press Release )
Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts Offers Etiquette Tips
for Business Travel to Asia
Savvy business travelers are honing their international relations skills by learning proper etiquette
so that they can gain an edge over the competition and build important, lasting relationships. In
order to help pave the way, Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts offers tips for first-time business
travelers to Asia. (Note: available at www.panpacific.com, under the "news" link)
* Pan Pacific Bangkok alerts business travelers that at all levels of social interaction, Thai demand
the same level of perceptiveness from foreigners as they do amongst themselves. If an associate
disagrees with an opinion, it will not be spelled out, but merely be implied so gently that there is
no "loss of face."
* Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur advises business travelers that if they attend a function hosted by a
Malaysian it is not wise to leave without eating. The guest will offend the host if they say they are
* Pan Pacific Singapore recommends that business travelers bring a sufficient number of business
cards as associates in Asia expect them. The absence of cards implies that business people are
disinterested in doing business.
* Pan Pacific Glenmarie, Kuala Lumpur confirms that English is the language of commerce,
banking and international trade but business travelers may want to hone up on general greetings in
the native Malay language.
* Pan Pacific Yokohama recommends that business travelers print business cards with all the
pertinent contact information in Japanese on the reverse side and also suggests arriving at
meetings five minutes before the appointment as Japanese are very punctual.
* Pan Pacific Pangkor Island advises business travelers who extend an invitation for a meal to
pick up the tab, unless the guest "strongly insists" on paying the bill.
* Puteri Pan Pacific, Johor Bahru suggests that business travelers entertaining Muslim guests be
reminded to look for restaurants that serve food, which is halal (free from pork). Business
travelers should also know that Indians who practice the Hindu faith and Chinese who follow
Buddhism do not eat beef. Always review menu options before selecting a restaurant!
* Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka recommends that first time business travelers to Bangladesh
respect the local protocol of hierarchy, as "rank" is very important and highly valued. The first
person to enter a room is the head of the group and North Americans should follow this practice to
The First Impression: Asian cultures tend to honor formality as a sign of respect, so addressing
your host correctly will enhance a first impression. It is traditionally acceptable to use a surname,
together with a title such as " Chairman Cheng." Asians generally accept the western custom of
shaking hands, but don't mistake a weak handshake as a lack of assertiveness.
Gift Giving: Gift giving shows good manners and respect in many Asian cultures and indicate an
interest in building relationships. However, Malaysians would not expect a gift, and in Japan, gifts
are exchanged once a relationship is established. The wrong gift or gift-wrap can insult the
recipient. A bottle of premium liquor would be appreciated in Thailand but disfavored by Muslim
cultures and religions in Malaysia or Indonesia where liquor is not acceptable. Always give and
receive gifts with both hands and don't expect gifts to be opened in your presence.
Small Talk: Discussing politics is a sign of poor taste in most Asian cultures. Small talk is
customary in many Asian countries and favorable topics include family, health, local cuisine,
television and sports.
Body Language: In most of Asia, shoes and feet are considered "unclean" so it's offensive to sit
cross-legged pointing the soles of your feet toward your hosts. To be safe, always sit with your
feet on the floor. Avoid pointing with your index finger. Instead, gesture with your whole hand,
palm down. Never touch your host's head, or pass objects over it.
Pan Pacific SeniorVP, Steve Halliday, comments, "As a veteran traveler I've seen many changes
over the last few decades. The most important first step in business relationships is to develop
respect and trust with your associates. Once you learn this time-honored tradition, business will
come much easier. Take time to learn about the customs and culture of your Pacific Rim business
destination. The possibilities are limitless when strong relationships are forged. Respecting the
local customs shows a sincere interest in developing a meaningful business relationship and can
result in greater success."
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