Airbnb Cancels Great Wall of China Sleepover Contest


One can imagine how beautiful it is to enjoy a UNESCO-listed historical place from day to night. Departing from this unique idea, Airbnb initiated a competition by giving a special offer to their users. The initial plan was, anyone only had to access the Airbnb website to answer some questions. Later, the Airbnb team would choose the winners based on the answers or responses.

There would be four winners from this contest who would be spoiled with the magnificent scenery and atmosphere of Great Wall of China. Airbnb team would set a luxe roofless campsite on one of the towers in the Great Wall complex to give the winners a once-in-a-lifetime slumber experience, followed by a multi-course gourmet dinner with Chinese tradition exposure. In setting this competition, Airbnb teamed up with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee. Airbnb held this contest in a hope that people would be able “to promote sustainable tourism to China by spotlighting wide-ranging efforts to preserve the Wall’s deep heritage”.

image: qz.com

However, Tuesday (August 7), Airbnb announced that they called off the whole competition since once the offer had been showcased on Airbnb web, various feedbacks were received by the team, as well as the uproar that followed.

Lines of protests and critiques flooded on Chinese social media as to the response of the contest, most of them claimed that this idea showed little-or-no respect towards the ancient monument. Even though according to Airbnb they have teamed up with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee, the officials of Yanqing district conveyed that they were not informed and notified thus no approval had been granted to Airbnb team.

If we begin to look at the full depth of the problem, it is actually the value differences that play a key role in this issue. The locals who have been living in China in general and in Great Wall complex in particular, have an innate intrinsic value to preserve this piece of world history. They have a strong sense of belonging.

While in the other hand, the Airbnb as a company only possesses extrinsic value that differs their way of thinking with the locals. As mentioned by their team before, one of the goals that can be achieved through this competition is to stimulate global awareness that each one of us can take a role in honouring and preserving a historical monument. Furthermore, one may not neglect the fact that Airbnb also wrapped this message in their very own Great Wall of China sleepover contest for PR purposes as well.


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Nadya Yolanda Moeda
A former travel blogger who is now a full time consultant & loves to write about everything under the sun

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