Controversial British street artist known as Banksy has recently opened a hotel in Bethlehem in his latest social commentary installment.
The hotel, “The Walled Off Hotel“, has been opened facing Israel’s separation wall that cuts through the occupied West Bank. All of the windows face the wall, giving residents “the worst view of any hotel in the world”, according to the artist. The rooms are decorated with familiar and new works from Banksy as can be seen below.
While 7 of the 9 rooms were designed by Banksy, the final 2 were designed by Canadian and Palestinian artists. The artist has stated that his hotel “offers a warm welcome to people from all sides of the conflict and across the world”. His work has historically referenced Palestinian conflict, including allegedly sneaking into the Gaza Strip and distributing his art in that area after last year’s conflict.
Tourism has been positively influenced by Banksy’s commentary art. Wisam Salsah, manager of the “Walled Off Hotel”, told Al Jazeera “Since 2008, we didn’t have many tourists coming into Bethlehem, but there were more Banksy tourists coming than any other type of tourists”. He also said that there are more Banksy tourists than Nativity Church tourists. Regardless of which tourists are going where, Salsah hopes that the tourism trend continues.
More information can be found on the hotel’s website here.