Date
25 May 2017
The hotel displayed images of starving African children (left) to discourage guests from leaving food behind. Photos: Apple Daily, blick.ch
The hotel displayed images of starving African children (left) to discourage guests from leaving food behind. Photos: Apple Daily, blick.ch

Food-wasting Chinese tourists shamed by photos of starving kids

Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you: “Finish your food. Think of all the starving children in Africa” or India, or even China?

Some mainland Chinese tourists may not have got the message when they were children.

A Swiss hotel has now had to use a similar tactic to discourage them from leaving heaps of uneaten food on their plates.

Hotel Monopol, a four-star hotel in Lucerne, recently started putting signs written in Chinese on its dining tables, reminding its guests not to take more food than they can consume.

The hotel, where 35 percent of the guests come from China and other Asian countries, has found that many Chinese tourists tend to pile up food on their plates but end up eating only about half.

The signs say, “all resources on earth are valuable”, Apple Daily reported Tuesday, citing Blick, a Swiss news website.

For good measure, the hotel, which charges about US$300 per night for a single room, displays pictures showing skinny children in Africa starving for lack of food, the report said.

The hotel’s owner, Brigitte Heller, said that although it has given rise to some controversy, the anti-waste campaign has been quite effective since it started a month ago.

Some Chinese netizens have called for a boycott of Swiss goods and trips to the country, but Heller said her action has received a positive response from many guests, including some from China and Japan.

Heller has no intention of criticizing or educating Chinese tourists, she said, but only thinks it is immoral to waste food.

Statistics from the United Nations and China’s State Administration of Grain show that food loss in mainland China amounts to as much as 200 billion yuan (US$32.2 billion) each year, which could be used to keep tens of millions of people from starving.

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