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Abu Dhabi becomes hot tourist destination thanks to upcoming 'Star Wars' flick

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    The original 'Star Wars' trilogy was a box office blockbuster. (AP)

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    Local boys sell traditional souvenirs in the Star Wars movie set in the Ong Jmal, in the Nefta, south of Tunisia. (AP)

Hoping that the force will be with you on your next vacation?  

A trip to the scorching desert in Abu Dhabi might fit the bill.

But don’t worry, you won’t be alone. In the wake of excitement surrounding the making of ‘Star Wars Episode VII,’ the Middle Eastern city has seen a sharp increase in hotel bookings, according to a recent survey by LateRooms.com.

Although the film is not due to be released until December 2015, filming recently took place  in a secret location in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region. After leaked images of the desert sets were leaked on the Internet, Laterooms.com says it recorded a 19 percent year-on-year increase in hotel bookings due to die-hard fans, eager to find learn as much as possible about the film.

“As one of the biggest film franchises, it’s not surprising that Star Wars fans are eager to sneak a glimpse of any filming action they can,” said Lynda Matthews, head of marketing for LateRooms.com. “We would not be surprised to see the bookings continue to rise as fans flock to the desert to combine a short break with a glimpse of Hollywood action.”

The United Arab Emirates' stunning desert landscape is the backdrop for the fictional planet of Tatooine-- the home of both Luke Skywalker and his father Anakin, a.k.a. Darth Vader.

Past 'Star War' films have replicated Tatooine’s climate and culture with scenes shot in Tunisia.  But film producers nixed that spot due to the country's political instability, opting for the U.A.E. as a backdrop instead.  

The first Star Wars trilogy enjoyed dominated the box office during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The second trilogy, a prequel released in three episodes, came out between 1999 and 2005. Collectively the franchise has grossed over $4 billion.