Airbnb Cancels Great Wall Sleepover Competition After Social Media Uproar

By Phumelele Simelane, August 14, 2018

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Last week, following Airbnb's announcement of a 'Night At The Great Wall' contest, Chinese social media instantly stirred into a frenzy, as reported by ECNS.

The public’s uproar pushed Beijing’s home rental website Airbnb to abort the competition offer. Concerns rose that participators of the sleepover would damage the site, whilst critics referred to the contest as a disrespectful act towards a historical structure. 

On August 7, Airbnb reiterated the cancellation of the planned Great Wall sleepover, according to Quartz.

Airbnb stated, “We deeply respect the feedback we have received. We have made the decision to not move forward with this event." As reported by BBC, Airbnb was supposedly working with a state tourism agency for the event and launched it to “promote sustainable tourism to China by spotlighting wide ranging efforts to preserve the Wall’s deep heritage." 

The competition's main initiative was to invite participants to write about tearing down cultural barriers and establishing new connections. 

Subsequently, the four winners (and their plus ones) would then get the chance to stay on the wall overnight in a “customized bedroom built in an ancient watchtower of the wall," according to the Star

Additionally, Airbnb shared in a statement that participants who entered the contest would be contacted about other means of exploring China. Moreover, the project’s purpose was to promote tourism and bring cultural Chinese heritage to life. 

BBC reports that some claims were made by Chinese media stating that the event was never approved by local authorities. 

This stunt is a humiliating hit in a significant market for Airbnb, which witnessed a massive increase to its listings last year – essentially logging more than 3.3 million guests – as reported by Quartz.

[Cover image via Pexels]

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