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Airbnb cancels Great Wall of China sweepstakes following response from Chinese social media

Airbnb’s “Night on The Great Wall” contest had originally offered eight tourists the chance to stay in a living area in the Wall.

(Airbnb)

Airbnb has cancelled the “Night on The Great Wall” sweepstakes following impact on the match, which would have granted eight tourists the chance to spend a night in the historic milestone.

“We have made the decision not to continue with this event and instead we will work on a range of different experiences and initiatives that show China as a destination, and to emphasize how people travel and can drive human connections,” Airbnb said in an update posted on the site.

The contest, which tasked participants with the writing of an essay on the breaking of cultural barriers, was met with criticism on Chinese social media shortly after it was announced, the South China Morning Post reported.

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“The Great Wall is a historical relic under protection, how can they let it to be converted into a common boarding house?!” a user allegedly asked, while another accused Airbnb of trying to take advantage of the “old” site.

The Beijing Yanqing Cultural Commission also expressed its disapproval of the match, saying: ‘this is not in line with the Great Wall, the conservation of the cultural heritage values” and that she had never agreed to the event.

“We have made the decision not to continue with this event and instead we will work on a range of different experiences and initiatives that show China as a destination, and to emphasize how people travel and can drive human connections,” Airbnb said in an update posted on the site.

(Airbnb)

In response to the cultural commission, Airbnb has taken to the Chinese social media platform Weibo to respond.

“We understand and respect the opinion put forward by the Cultural Commission,” they wrote, according to the South China Morning Post.

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In the online statement, Airbnb added that the competition was part of its efforts to raise awareness for conservation and to educate people “about the Wall heritage.”

“We remain committed to that goal and in the coming weeks and months we will be working closely with our hosts and guests in China, as well as leaders of the community to highlight the culture and history that make China one of the most dynamic destinations in the world. China is one of our most important markets, where we have a number of partnerships with local leaders and organizations to promote sustainable, local and authentic travel to China.”

The company apologized for the “disappointment” for those who already signed up for the contest.

(Airbnb)

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The company has also apologized to everyone who has already signed up for the contest.

“We are very sorry for any disappointment caused and we will contact you in the future about other ways in which you can explore, and amazing experiences in China.”

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