• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:18am
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

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.
If people prefer to stick to their own cuisine while travelling, they may want to take their own cooking tools - rice cookers have frequently been cited on long-haul package tours. But of course, making elaborate meals inside a hotel room should be restricted because of safety issues and consideration for the hotel and its future guests.
Chinese tourists often fail to try out any "foreign food" preferring the (bad) cup noodles. They should learn to eat other food. Just imagine I stay here in Beijing and refuse to eat Chinese "ugly food", accepting only Belgian fries and steaks, and of course a Camembert. How insulted the Chinese hosts would be. I am now more Chinese than the average Chinese: I love all the different cuisines here, but Chinese stick often to "their" food only and can be so damned fussy (I am from XYZ and we don't eat rice, etc.). Things are changing slowly, as I see the many Chinese now eating out in Western restaurants (and visibly enjoying it). But we still have too many "farmers-eating-noodles-only". Many Chinese have really closed minds for other cultures.
LOL the conclusion is simply an emphatical fact that anywhere we travel we must stress we are Hong Kongers but not from China so we won't end up as collateral damage. Mainlanders have done it again! Kudos!
"“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.”"
I'm not sure about this as it is unbelievable fresh food and ingredients could be an issue. I watch and listen almost every cooking shows in HK on TV and radio cook shows and actually if you follow carefully they all use "chicken powder" or "chicken cube" to marinate fresh seafood, beef, pork , veg, virtually everything marinated with chicken powder by famous chinese chef. Do we have " chicken powder" a century ago in traditional chinese cooking? Chinese are loosing our culture and obsessed with another form of taste enhancer or MSG...I guess. Pleases stop boosting our cooking culture, our culture is dying....quickly.
So this is another example of vp chinese tourist obsessed with MSG..

i read some related articles in chinese. i think they were referring to mainlanders using the pot to COOK rather than using it to make hot water for cup (instant) noodles. they then damage the pots. such manner (or the lack of it) inevitably brings grievances, of course.
Man, you don't see lots of racist comments these days. And these people are actually showing off their stupidity. Emmm, interesting.
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.
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!!!!
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.



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