President Xi Jinping chided China’s growing ranks of tourists about their reputation abroad, joking during a trip to the Maldives that travelers should litter less and sample more local cuisine.

“Let me interrupt and say something here — we should also educate our citizens to be civilized when traveling abroad,” Xi said to laughter and applause during a Sept. 15 event with the Chinese ambassador, according to China News Service. “Don’t litter water bottles, don’t destroy their coral reef. Eat less instant noodles and more local seafood.”

The remarks were partly a response to calls for a boycott of travel to the Maldives after a hotel on the archipelago nation south of India reportedly removed hot-water kettles from the rooms of Chinese travelers because they ate only instant noodles. Chinese tourists’ behavior abroad was also criticized last year after photographs circulated online of Chinese characters a tourist had carved on the wall of an ancient Egyptian temple.

China reported 100 million citizens traveled abroad last year, and that number is expected to double by 2020 as individual wealth grows along with the economy, the China Daily newspaper reported in January.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Yuling Yang in Beijing at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nicholas Wadhams at 

Photo Credit: Do Chinese tourists eat too many noodles? Dominik Schwind / Flickr