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Tunisia is trying to save one of its most important landmarks and they need your help.
The site in question is the set that served as the fictional city of Mos Espa, located on the planet Tatooine, in the Star Wars films. Since being built for the movies in the 1970s, the location has become such a popular tourist destination there is a hotel built right inside.
As a follow up to its morbid campaign a few years ago, Tunisia is now leaning on its role in Star Wars to help attract visitors and pull the country out of a post-revolution tourism recession that saw visitor numbers drop from 7 million in 2010 to under 5 million in 2011.
About a year ago we wrote up Mexico's "The Place You Thought You Knew" tourism advertising campaign. Mexico's strategy was to focus on all the interesting things you could find in the country, and to hope against hope that you'd forget about all the unpleasant shootings and beheadings and stuff.
A new campaign from post-Arab Spring Tunisia is kind of like that, in that it's aggressively the exact total opposite. Instead of dodging the issue of violent riots, which swept across the country during its democratic revolution and claimed over 200 lives, Tunisia's tourism people have turned them into a series of dark jokes. The angle is definitely getting people's attention, so two points for honesty and another two for cleverness we suppose. But dude.
Avoid the temptation to purchase the "local color" of your trip at the airport gift shop and step into the magical labyrinths that are city markets. Practice your haggling and strap on that money belt as we profile some of the world's best.
One of the best travel decisions we've ever made was to forego the typical Mexico spring break for a far more cultural (and culture-shocking) one in Tunisia. And it only got better the further we went into the North African country, as prices dropped and hand-made carpets got more colorful. Speaking of carpets, we headed to one of the capitals of this industry: the city of Kairouan.
As the fourth most important city in Islam, Kairouan attracts its share of foreign visitors, and all are attracted to the vibrant market of the city in the walled-in medina. Here is the place to purchase hand-painted ceramics, glassware, and especially the meaning-laden carpet you've always dreamt of owning.