China suspends Marriott’s website over geography gaffe

Marriott swiftly issued apology and statement ; Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall pictured

Marriott recently caused an outrage in China when it was discovered that it had listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries, resulting in the US hotel giant’s Chinese website and mobile app being shut down for a week by the Chinese authorities.

The saga began last Tuesday when a Chinese-language questionnaire Marriott emailed to customers referred to Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as countries.

Marriott swiftly issued apology and statement; Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall pictured

One of the hotel’s official Twitter accounts was found to have “liked” a Tibetan separatist group, further adding fire to the fuel.

Marriott last Thursday issued a swift apology for the gaffe, which had attracted accusations of disrespecting Chinese sovereignty and calls of boycott by angry netizens on Weibo.

“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. We recognise the severity of the situation and sincerely apologise,” Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, said in a statement.

Marriott was not alone in causing furore for geographical inaccuracies.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said it had found Delta Air Lines to have listed Taiwan and Tibet as independent countries on its website and had asked the airline to rectify its mistake.

Delta on Friday also issued an apology for the website mistake and had taken immediate steps to resolve it.

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