Airbnb Scraps Great Wall Of China Contest

Looks like it wasn't such a Great idea after all.

US accommodation website Airbnb has been forced to cancel a publicity contest offering its users a chance to spend a night on the Great Wall of China.

State-owned newspaper the China Daily reported Airbnb had decided not to go ahead with the plan out of respect for public opinion, as the offer had led to concern among Chinese internet users about the commercial use of a national treasure.

Airbnb claimed the event, Night at the Great Wall, had permission from authorities, although the cultural commission in Beijing's Yanqing district said it was not aware of the event and no approval had been given.

The company launched the contest on its website on August 2, offering eight selected travellers the opportunity to stay on the Great Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The organisers had planned to convert a watchtower of the 2600-year-old monument in the Badaling section into a double room with a bed, decor, candles and a bathroom, although without electricity and other amenities.

The room up for grabs in the now-cancelled contest. Image: Airbnb
The room up for grabs in the now-cancelled contest. Image: Airbnb

There are no laws banning people from spending the night on the wall and some tourist companies also offer packages for camping on it, but this was the first offer of its kind, according to Airbnb.

Laws for protection and conservation of the monument, which stretches for thousands of kilometres, date back to 2006 and strictly ban installations not meant for conservation.