Airbnb’s sleepover at Great Wall of China meets regulatory wall

Airbnb has been quick to withdraw the promotion for its users in China saying it respects and understood the Chinese government’s stance.

Airbnb’s novel marketing scheme in China hit a regulatory wall following its promotions of offering sleepovers on the Great Wall of China.

Last week, the U.S. short term rental service firm had asked its users in China to compete for four slots to stay at a “Great Wall Wonder house”, sleeping overnight in one of the wall’s guard towers.

On Monday, China’s district cultural commission stated, it did not support the promotion as it was not in line with conservation plans of the UNESCO-recognized world heritage site.

Quickly correcting its misstep, Airbnb stated, it has canceled the promotion and has understood and respected the government’s stance.

Airbnb said it was working “on a range of other experiences and initiatives that showcase China as a destination.”

China’s Great Wall is among 28 sites that Airbnb featured in its latest round of contests, which also offer opportunities to sleep out at Boston’s Fenway Park baseball ground, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and the Paris Catacombs.

This is not the first time that Airbnb has had a run-in with Chinese authorities. Previously it had to close down its services during politically sensitive events, and comply with strict regulations as the homestay accommodation industry remains a gray area in China.

In 2017, Airbnb said it would start disclosing host information to government agencies in line with rules requiring citizens and tourists to register their addresses with police within 24 hours when they arrive in China or stay at a hotel.

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