Published on : Thursday, October 29, 2020
Faced with derision once again in a film featuring fictional Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, the ex-Soviet state of Kazakhstan has embraced the joke this time around, adopting Borat’s catchphrase for attracting tourists.
Like the first film, the movie features Borat on the rampage in the United States where he tries to trap US politicians and others into letting their guard down and compromising themselves.
Borat’s first outing created anger in Kazakhstan where authorities were against its screening, threatening legal action over what they viewed as a slur to their national character.
This time around, a different approach has been taken, adopting Borat’s catchphrase “Very Nice!” for promoting tourism in Kazakhstan.
In a slick video released by the tourism board there are magnificent mountains and lakes, exotic food market and futuristic-looking cityscapes.
The idea for using Borat’s catchphrase belongs to Dennis Keen, a US citizen living in Kazakhstan, who is married to a Kazakh woman and has a business running walking tours.
“It was something I’d been thinking about for years as everyone who comes here is aware of the Borat thing being attached to the country’s brand,” said Keen.
Borat’s “Very Nice!” catchphrase can be used in a good way instead, Keen said.
“It’s actually the perfect description of the country in the most sincere way. The people and the food are very nice,” he said.
Tourism in Kazakhstan has been hard hit by travel restrictions and border closures similar to many other countries.
However, Kairat Sadvakassov, the deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said that he hopes that the campaign would help people see that Borat’s jokes about the country were astray when the situation improved.
“We would like everyone to come experience Kazakhstan for themselves by visiting our country in 2021 and beyond, so that they can see that Borat’s homeland is nicer than they may have heard,” said Sadvakassov.
Nevertheless, Kazakh authorities are unimpressed with the film.