August 09, 2018 01:12 PM

Airbnb has canceled has canceled a controversial contest that would have let tourists sleep on the Great Wall of China after a significant backlash.

The home-sharing site announced last week that it would be hosting a giveaway for eight visitors to spend the night on the wall, with 13,000 miles of history all to themselves.

However, it was criticized almost immediately on social media over concerns that the guests would potentially cause damage to the world famous landmark, according to travel site The Points Guy. Critics also pointed out that use of the site for lodging may not be legal.

“We deeply respect the feedback we have received,” Airbnb said in a statement released Tuesday. “We have made the decision to not move forward with this event and instead we are working on a range of other experiences and initiatives that showcase China as a destination and highlight how people-to-people travel can drive human connections.”

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The contest was launched in an effort to raise awareness for heritage site protection and cultural exchange, according to Airbnb, which partnered with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee to host the first-ever overnight stays at the modern world wonder.

Four people and their guests would have gotten to have the Great Wall of China all to themselves for one night each from Sept. 4-7.


To win the unique Airbnb experience, contestants were asked to write in 550 characters or less why they consider it important to break down barriers between cultures and how they would use their time at the Great Wall to build new connections. Winners would have be chosen based on how well they answered the question, originality, and creativity.

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In addition to the unique accommodation inside the ancient portion of the wall, each stay was to include a sunset dinner along the wall, a classical music concert, and a calligraphy lesson. Winners would also take a hike through China’s countryside and learn about the history of the Great Wall from the site’s official historian.

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