An official has said that the phrase that was popularised by Borat, describes the vast tourism potential of the country in a ‘short, memorable way’
Kazakhstan, which is the home nation of the fictional Borat Sagdiyev, has now adopted the brash, moustachioed character’s catchphrase of “Very nice!”, for a new tourism campaign in the country, following the release of Sacha Baron Cohen’s sequel to the original Borat film.
In the recently released sequel entitled ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’, the fictional journalist played by Mr Cohen depicts his homeland as misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic, similarly to how he does in the original film, ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’. In the first depiction of the character, Borat is worried that he would be executed in his home nation if the film wasn’t a success.
The original film’s version of the national anthem of Kazakhstan begins with the words: “Kazakhstan greatest country in the world, all other countries run by little girls.” , whereas the true national anthem for the country begins: “Sky of golden sun, steppe of golden seed”.)
Despite these less-than-flattering depictions of the country, Kairat Sadvakassov, the deputy chairman of Tourism in Kazakhstan, has said in a statement to the Huffington Post that adopting the catchphrase of Borat in the campaign “offers the perfect description of Kazakhstan’s vast tourism potential in a short, memorable way.”
“Kazakhstan’s nature is very nice; its food is very nice; and its people, despite Borat’s jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world.”
“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,” he said.
The idea for the tourism campaign came from an American man named Dennis Keen, who had travelled to Kazakhstan on a high school exchange program, and then went on to study with a Kazakh professor at Stanford University. Mr Keen now lives in Almaty, where he gives walking tours, according to a New York Times report.
With a lot of time on his hands due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he and a friend pitched their new idea to the Kazakh tourism board and “immediately” got the go-ahead to make four 12-second ads.
This comes after Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has vowed that the government will “go further” as he has announced three new measures that are supposed to help workers and businesses to get through the winter months, as well as the ongoing second spike of COVID-19.
The response is a far cry from the nation’s reaction to the original Borat film. After its release in 2006, the Kazakh government placed ads in US newspapers disputing some of the film’s claims and presenting the country as modern, stable and outward-looking. The advertisements were timed with a visit from President Nursultan Nazabayev and featured a photograph of Nazabayev shaking hands with US president George W Bush.
Later that year Nazabayev laughed when asked about the film while on a visit to the UK. “The very fact that you have put that question – you will want to learn more and come to Kazakhstan to see for yourself,” he said.