Giant pandas, especially the cubs, are a major attraction for visitors to Sichuan. (Photo provided to China Daily)
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and online home-sharing platform Airbnb recently entered a 10-year partnership.
Both sides will work together to promote awareness of, and education about, the giant panda around the world.
Airbnb will help to build a wildlife conservation station to support Chengdu in its efforts.
The partnership also aims to foster sustainable tourism and promote Sichuan's provincial capital as a major international-tourism destination, both parties claim, adding that all actions will proceed on the premises of respecting and preserving nature.
"From rural to urban areas, home-sharing has imbued our hospitality industry today with a new holistic sense of community, aesthetics and authenticity," says Tu Zhi, deputy secretary-general of Chengdu's municipal government.
"We look forward to our collaboration to combine Airbnb's global experience with Chengdu's unique culture to promote greater awareness and protection of the giant panda globally," Tu says.
Chengdu will offer 144-hour visa-free transit to travelers from 53 countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, starting from Jan 1.
Local authorities say they hope the cooperation will raise Chengdu's tourism standards, and further enhance the international competitiveness of the city's hospitality and tourism-accommodation industry.
"Airbnb is committed to supporting the growth of healthy tourism around the world," says Peng Tao, president of Airbnb China.
"Our partnership with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is an important initiative that will help us to achieve this. It enables us to leverage our platform and global network to share more about traditional Chinese culture, promote international cultural exchange and support Chengdu's development as a rising global travel destination."