Marriott, Delta in hot water with China

Tammy Harvey
January 14, 2018

The Cyberspace Administration of China has blocked access to the Marriott hotel chain's website as punishment for geographical descriptions which challenge the People's Republic of China's sovereignty and territorial claims.

China has suspended Marriott's Chinese website and mobile app for a week after it emerged that the hotel chain mailed a survey questionnaire to members that listed Tibet, Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries.

Civil Aviation Administration of China said on its website it would require all foreign airlines operating routes to China to conduct comprehensive investigation of their websites, apps and customer-related information and "strictly comply with China's laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening".

"Marriott International respects Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity.We sincerely apologize for any actions that led to misunderstanding on the aforementioned stance", the company said in a statement on its official Weibo account.

In the letter of apology to the CAAC and on its official website, Delta said it is fully committed to China and Chinese customers as China is one of its most important markets.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,100 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 124 countries and territories.

According to reports from local media and internet users, Spanish clothes company Zara's website ( and US medical technology firm Medtronic's website ( had categorized Chinese territories as countries. Delta wrote an apology on its website, saying that it's sorry "for hurting the feelings of the Chinese people".

Media in China has reported that some travelers have cancelled reservations with Marriott as a response to the errors.

Hong Kong and Macau are part of China but run largely autonomously.

Tibet is officially an "autonomous region" but firmly under Chinese control. The questionnaire, which has violated China's cyber security and advertising laws, may lead to Marriott facing a maximum fine of one million Yuan ($153,822) or have its business license revoked. "Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said President and CEO Arne Sorenson.

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