HUA HIN — A Chinese tourist and her child nearly had to sleep on the streets in the resort town of Hua Hin because no hotel would take them, an activist said Tuesday.
The mother and child were initially due to return to mainland China in early February but their flight was cancelled, forcing them to extend their stay in Hua Hin, but all hotels refused their booking over concerns of coronavirus infection, local community rights activist Santat Dechkerd said.
Santat said the pair eventually moved to a condominium owned by his relative, who let the Chinese tourists stay there until their return flight to China could be arranged.
His claim could not be independently verified as of publication time, but Hua Hin district chief Thanon Phanpipas on Sunday said many hotel owners in the area are indeed turning down booking requests from Chinese tourists.
“Most business operators don’t let them stay to avoid causing worries to other guests,” Thanon said. He added that local health authorities are ready to assist any hotels who fear there might be an infection.
Thanon previously urged business owners in Hua Hin to refrain from panicking in the face of the virus epidemic.
“We have to understand that not all Chinese tourists are patients,” Thanon told a meeting on Jan. 29. “I want to stress that we have to be on alert, but we must not panic.”
Racist sentiments are rising against Chinese and Asians worldwide, fanned by anxieties over the novel strain of coronavirus, which has been dubbed “the Chinese virus” by a number of Western publications.
A restaurant in Chiang Mai also made the news recently when its owner put up a sign saying it refused services to Chinese nationals. The sign was later taken down per instruction from the Tourist Police.