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  • Oct 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:45pm
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. 



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This article is now closed to comments

it's not NEEDLESS to say. The GM is doing the right thing as oxymoron1 stated to protect the integrity of the establishment. Sure, they can make a quick buck in the short term but only to hurt them later as guests will hear of rude mainlanders frequenting this place and over time this place would go out of business. Quality Assurance is what is more important.
Been there, done that, and decided not to ever go back to the mainland again even if I had to quit my job. I bear witness to the atrocious stone age behaviors and corruptions and why do you have the audacity to accuse those that have grounds to testify against these people when many have seen it with their naked eyes without wearing "color glasses"? I dare you to go out at night alone and say you feel safe, I dare you to go out flashing a Rolex or even an iPhone and I dare you to buy their local baby milk powder without hesitation and I dare you to travel without money or hospital insurance and most likely you'll be ending up dead in the streets while people taking pictures of your dying face if you do get stuck down by a vehicle... I dare you! Patronizing people with a false sense of understanding oblivious to the kind of skeletons they are hiding in their closets are at best a pretentious patriot and at worst a hypocrite. No wait, they don't hide skeletons but they wear them in their backs for public display and that's what makes them frightening. So who is short-sighted now ?
Alex Chan
@ Oxymoron: You said "Been there, done that, and decided not to ever go back to the mainland again even if I had to quit my job" So did you quit your job yet? If you hate China so much then “Even I had to" is never good enough, you should have quit your job in the first place. Try to wear gold Rolex Watch and walk down the backstreet of New York and see what happened. What a Moron! Sorry you named yourself that already. LOL!!!!
@ Alex Chan :Its' just a rhetorical statement you soph-omoric troll ! But again if I may have hurt your feelings because your biological mother or wife is from the mainland, I extend my sincere apology for beind insensitive. Nevertheless I only regard you as a victim of circumstances. *chuckle*
Juxtaposed China to a robbery in back street alleys of New York city , in the states muggers would rob you at gunpoint with a sidearm or with a knife and ask you for your Rolex whereas in China you would get knocked out cold, take your Rolex and left for dead without knowing what happened. Even criminals have a code of ethics in civilized countries.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; fool's because they have to say something - Plato -
I see absolutely no reason whatsoever why guests should be prevented from using a kettle to make hot water for pot noodles. The manager of TBHI was a fool.
The problem is not that they make hot water for their cup noodles, but that they cook them directly inside the electric kettle. And not just noodles, but also seafood, crabs, soup, milk etc.
Ever used a electric kettle? try to cook sth first before you make such assertions
People should be more open minded and understanding. China has been closed to the world for many years and it's natural that the behaviour standard of many Mainland Chinese is different from the rest of the world. We must also remember that under the Communist rule of the past, rouph manners and foul language were common practice of the leaders there.
I salute your understanding but it's like saying we must also embrace North Korean's war mongering regime because they have been brainwashed in the past half a century and therefore be compassionate about them and veto the sanctions imposed on them by the UN so they could continue to build a real atomic bomb and start WW3. Being sympathetic is one thing but being objectively discerning to avoid confrontation is another. There is a deeper reason or meaning why we are named SAR besides a political one.
Its better for us if china stay free from Maldives every way




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