Winners could have spent a night in a renovated section of the UNESCO-listed world heritage site
Global hospitality marketplace Airbnb has called of a competition offering a chance to spend a night at a renovated, open-roofed section of the Great Wall of China.
The competition was announced at the beginning of August but sparked mixed reactions from people across the world. Concerns varied from damage to the historical structure to being bitten to death by mosquitos. Additionally, Beijing’s cultural commission which oversees the maintenance of that section of the wall, said it was not aware of any such event and that no approval had been given for it.
Airbnb released a statement saying that it ‘deeply respected’ the feedback and decided to not move ahead with the competition. In response to the cultural commission’s comment, Airbnb added that an agreement was indeed in place but the decision to cancel the event was final.
The competition had instructed people to submit a 500-word essay on overcoming cultural borders and the best essay would win the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity. The visit would also include a multi-course gourmet meal with traditional Chinese entertainment and a short trek.
After the offer appeared online, comments came in praising it as a unique night but these were overshadowed with criticisms that it was wrong for Airbnb to misuse the landmark for its own gains.
Airbnb’s reason for holding such an event was to promote tourism in the country by casting a spotlight on the range of efforts taken by authorities to preserve the heritage of the Wall. It added that people who had entered the event, would be contacted about other ways to discover and explore China.This event was only the latest in a range of offers put out by Airbnb; previous locations included a Dracula-like castle in Romania and a trip through the Great Barrier Reef, in a mini-submarine.