Marriott boss apologies after Chinese shut down

Marriott boss apologies after Chinese shut down

The boss of Marriott International issued an apology after China shut down the hotel giant’s Chinese websites for a week, after the firm listed Tibet and others as separate countries.

Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau were listed as individual nations in an online survey sent to customers.

Beijing considers self-ruling Taiwan to be a breakaway province and Tibet is governed as an autonomous region.

Hong Kong and Macau are both special administrative regions of China.

Marriott was also criticised after one of the firm’s social media accounts “liked” a post made by a group supporting a separatist Tibet.

Chinese media is reporting that some travellers are cancelling Marriott reservations in response, the BBC reported.

While the hotel’s international website is still available within China, the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration ordered it to close a Mandarin version.

Authorities also shut down Marriott’s Chinese mobile phone app as part of its punishment for the Mandarin-language survey. But having being closed earlier, the app now appears to be functioning.

The hotel group’s chief executive Arne Sorenson issued an apology yesterday, saying his firm “respects and supports Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity”.

“We don’t support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and we do not intend in any way to encourage or incite any such people or groups,” Sorenson said.

“Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite.”

The statement added that the company would take “necessary” disciplinary action against staff involved, which may include termination.

Sorenson has previously described China as ther company’s biggest market.

While Marriott has more than 100 hotels in the country under different brands, it is also keen to profit from the swelling number of Chinese people travelling internationally.

It started a joint travel venture with China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba last year.

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