Image credit: Eric Messa.
A fresh scandal in the Maldives is set to make March’s Noodle-gate look like some pointless argument over instant foodstuffs.
Chinese newlyweds are complaining on Weibo that fake honeymooners are crashing their romantic – and more to the point, free – dinners at a luxury Maldives resort.
Guangzhou resident @sara翠儿 was enjoying an exclusive sunset dinner for newlyweds offered by a posh Maldives hotel with her new husband when six other Chinese couples, including an elderly woman and her adult son, joined them.
Sara told of one couple who were apparently vacationing with their child. They were later confronted by hotel staff.
“How can you possibly be on a honeymoon when your child is already so big?” they were asked, according to Sara’s weibo post. The couple were asked to show their marriage certificate.
The husband produced a copy of their certificate, while shouting in Chinese: “Of course it’s our honeymoon. Can’t you read? You trash.”
According to Jenny Wang, a Beijing-based Maldives travel agent who spoke to the SCMP, many Chinese companies encourage customers to fake marriage certificates in order to qualify for honeymooner perks, some even assist in the fakery.
Offers include free meals, a complimentary visit to a spa, a basket of fruit or a bottle of champagne, depending on the resort. Most resorts require tourists to apply within six months of their marriage date. But marriage certificates can be easily manipulated on computers, and agents don’t have to break a sweat faking documents for clients.
Some of these holiday grifters are apparently so blatant that they’ll pretend to be same-sex newlyweds, despite the fact that gay marriage isn’t legal in China so the documents must be fake.
In a letter issued to travel agents last week by luxury Maldives resort Niyama, obtained by the South China Morning Post, honeymoon bookings must now show proof.
“It has been brought to our attention recently that honeymoon bookings are being made and benefits requested for clients that evidently are not on their honeymoon i.e./ mother and daughters, sister etc,” reads the letter.
Agents must submit a copy of tourists’ marriage certificates for future bookings. Wang said she had received similar requests from at least one other resort.
This month, vice premier Wang Yang condemned a minority of Chinese tourists whose poor “quality and breeding” gave the country a bad reputation around the world.