• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:01am
Chinese tourists

Chinese tourists boycott Maldives resort amid claims of discrimination

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 March, 2013, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 11:07am

Cup noodle fans should think twice when booking holidays in the Maldives, according to several Chinese travel agencies. Some luxury resorts have stopped providing Chinese guests with hot water to prevent them from skipping meals and room service in favour of cup noodles.

One even allegedly coined a new interpretation for “CN” - the acronym of “China”: cup noodle, according to Zhao Jianke, a former guest service manager at The Beach House Iruveli (TBHI), a five-star resort in northern Maldives.

Anger and calls for a boycott erupted on China’s social media this week after Zhao posted claims of discriminatory practices of the resort where he worked from October last year to February.

Many potential holidaymakers say they will stop vacationing on the Indian Ocean island until TBHI offers an official apology.

Zhao Jianke told SCMP.com that staff were ordered to treat Chinese visitors differently after the appointment of a new general manager in December.

“The new manager ordered us to take away hot water kettles from Chinese guests’ rooms and keep them in European guests’ rooms,” Zhao wrote in his statement, which has been reposted more than 10,000 times on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service. 

Despite the fact that Chinese guests - particularly the elderly and couples travelling with toddlers – continually complained, the manager allegedly turned down their request to reinstall kettles, said Zhao.

He claims the manager would refer to CN as “cup noodle” in public and refused to welcome Chinese guests at the pier upon their arrival, a practise he adhered to for European guests, said Zhao.

A Chinese chef was later fired and several other staff, including Zhao, were forced to resign, he said.

An official statement from TBHI obtained by the Post on Friday dismissed the accusations as “defamatory” and denied treating Chinese guests differently.

“The Chinese market is very important for us and are always warmly welcomed to the Beach House Iruveli,” said the statement.

“The Beach House Iruveli did remove some damaged kettles from rooms as part of routine maintenance due to the fact that these kettles were damaged by guests by cooking food,” spokesperson Linda Petrie told SCMP.com on Friday.

On China’s Sina Weibo, former guests of resort shared their shock and disappointment:

“I stayed there in October last year and was very happy with everything - and I did have hot water kettle in my room,” wrote a blogger. “How could it have changed so much?”

“My parents have always had a hard time with western food when travelling overseas,” said another, “So hot tea and cup noodles always came handy.”

Other travellers have simply cancelled plans to visit the Maldives, said Jenny, a Beijing-based travel agent specialising in vacations to the island. 

Jenny is among a group of agencies which stopped recommending the resort to clients after reading Zhao’s expose. They say they would not book the island resort unless TBHI  apologises to its Chinese guests.

Jenny admitted that discriminatory treatment is “very rare” among resorts in the Maldives, which reportedly receives its largest number of tourists from China. 

Zhao’s allegations triggered heated discussions in China after several newspapers picked up the story. Many have called for a thorough investigation.

"If the allegations are true, we should stop going there," said a blogger.

It might be too early to tell if the Maldives is falling out of favour with Chinese tourists, but it has certainly given potential holidaymakers pause for thought when booking vacations.

“After the incident, my clients now all make a new request when booking resorts: no discrimination,” said Jenny. 



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

I wish mainlanders would boycott all overseas travel frankly....
So this place will be nice and quiet? Good, I'm booking my room at this resort for Easter.
no mainlanders in maldives ? well that would be the best news i've heard in a while. It's so nice to wake up on a beautiful morning in the maldives and head to the buffet to see mainlanders hoarding food, pushing you out of the way, and talking (yelling ) to one another from one end of the room to the other on top of a myriad of atrocities that i wouldn't be able to fit in this box with my remaining 1114 characters.
Conclusion: mainland chinese are the rudest, filthiest people on planet earth today
Let's see, Hong Kong people don't want them, people in Chiang Mai, Thailand say they are rude. The Maldives sees a problem with them and people in France have also called them rude. What conclusion can we come to about this trend?
Laura Bianco
Well... In most of the Luxury resorts around the world practices something called "standards" to be honest, Chinese are noisy and their strange behavior ruins others holidays.. Sorry to say it.
So from this moment, its time for Chinese tourists to learn how to socialize with the rest of the world.
You don't know how much people out there will be glad to see this, "Chinese boycott a Resort" if you know what I mean.
However, A complete solution for this matter is to build an exclusive resort for Chinese..
No? I rest my case.. :) for good.
No mainland Chinese tourists? Hold on...gotta go call my travel agent!!
i'm stupid? how about a country that manufactures goods at cheap labour factories in the name of greed despite its dire consequences on the environment. How many fireworks factory fires can you possibly have before you learn to adapt some sort of safety measures. How many mining accidents will you have before safety is regulated. How many more bus crashes off cliffs into ravines will you have before somethings is done. How many tainted milk / food scandals/ plastic toy scandals can you possibly have in a year ? mainlanders are rude, crude, greedy, impolite, self serving, loud, obnoxious, arrogant and the list goes on and on.......... and btw how are those pigs doing ???
Racism is always there in all parts of the world. Maldivian resort workers always talk about this cup noodle thing & cooking crabs in electric jug. Most managements fail to attend Chinese needs in these luxury resorts. Understanding different culture is part of tourism and the resort staffs need to be trained to stop public relation disasters. An apology is not something the management can't afford and it takes only minutes to do it.
Is it interesting that chinese are obsessed with cup noodle that is not even invented in china and taste terrible and unhealthy? I hope this is not chinese culture....
The GM is not stupid. He is a man with integrity and high morals. A righteous man although lacking a little subtlety.



SCMP.com Account