A new video called “Happy (We are from Tatooine),” created by the Star Wars Tunisia fan club, shows C-3PO, R2-D2, a storm trooper, and even Darth Vader dancing around Tatooine to the catchy tune by Pharrell Williams. Tunisia was the location where George Lucas and his crew filmed the home planet for Anakin and Luke Skywalker – two iconic characters in the sci-fi franchise.
The video has already received more than 1.5 million hits on YouTube, and even got a share on Pharrell Williams’ Twitter page. But Pharrell has yet to comment on the efforts to rescue the North African country’s tourism industry.
The new tourism minister, Amel Karboul, said that it will take “10 to 15 years” for them to turn the country from being “relatively inexpensive to a top-end tourist destination.”
“But to change the image of a country from one that’s cheap to one that is ‘fun’ can be done much more quickly, and that’s a priority for us,” Karboul said, referring to the notion that Tunisia can be a budget-friendly vacation spot for the holidays.
The country is hoping to give its image a makeover, and looks to attract about 7 million visitors for the 2014 year – which is just a little more than the 6.9 million who visited in 2010. This was before the country’s image became tarnished by eruptions of violence, after the overthrowing of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. After that, the country saw just 4.7 million tourists in 2011, and that number has slowly increased. But the low amount of visitors has affected the roughly 400,000 people working in the key sector.
Karboul said that this video should “raise awareness” of the country, especially those who are fans of Star Wars.
“There are fans [of the sci-fi films] in the United States, in Scandinavia, in Asia, in South America, where Tunisia is barely known,” she said.
Pharrell Williams’ hit was a smart choice to use for the video. “Happy” has become the most popular song around the world, according to CNN.
What started off as a single for the animated sequel, Despicable Me 2, has grown to become the number one song for the past month. It received an Oscar nomination, and even got Meryl Streep and others to dance along to it, when Pharrell Williams performed at the ceremony earlier this month. Aside from the Star Wars parody, Williams’ song has also been spoofed on Glee by Gwyneth Paltrow, and The Virginian-Pilot journalist Robert Morast even wrote about why it should be the state song for Virginia.
This past Thursday, March 20, marked the International Day of Happiness, which saw Pharrell Williams partnering with the United Nations Foundation. Hundreds of video submissions were submitted, showing people around the world dancing to Pharrell’s song.
But there was one that particularly stood out. It was a video of the Philippines city of Talcoban, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in November of last year. Even though the city still hasn’t fully recovered, the residents showed they were indeed happy and enjoyed dancing along to the Pharrell Williams song.
It just goes to show that, even in the toughest of times, the Pharrell Williams song can lift anybody’s spirits.