Airbnb Cancels Competition for Luxury Overnight Stay at the Great Wall of China
Airbnb has canceled its contest to win a luxurious overnight stay at the Great Wall of China according to its website. Interested contestants were invited to enter the contest by writing a 500-word piece about the importance of overcoming cultural barriers. The home rental behemoth would then give four lucky winners (and their guests) an all-expenses-paid trip to the Great Wall of China, where they would sleep inside a centuries-old watchtower that has been revamped as an extraordinary guest room.
But the contest has garnered mixed feedback, with many concerned that the stay would contribute to damage of the historic structure, according to the BBC. That site also reported (based on Chinese media) that the company had never received approval from local authorities to run the event. Airbnb said on its site as an explanation for the cancelation of the event that they “deeply respect the feedback [they] have received.”
“The Great Wall is a cultural relic, can such project be approved?” asked one user on the Chinese social media platform Weibo tagging Chinese state media People’s Daily for a response. “Is it even legal?”
Aside from airfare and lodging, winners would have also had their meals covered, including a multi-course gourmet dinner with each dish corresponding to a facet of Chinese culture, a sunrise hike through the countryside led by official tour guides, and other cultural offerings like seal-engraving and calligraphy.
At more than 5,500 miles long, the ancient bulwark is a major source of national pride. The fortification is considered one of the largest—if not the largest—engineering projects in history, built over two millennia (starting in the 7th century BC). Airbnb’s contest was touted as part of the Chinese government’s effort to preserve the landmark—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—as well as boost sustainable tourism in the region.
Anyone 21 or older with an Airbnb account in good standing was invited to enter.