‘Very nice!’: Kazakhstan’s tourism board is embracing ‘Borat’ catchphrase to attract visitors

Kazakhstan is “very nice!,” according to a new tourism marketing campaign launched Monday by the country’s tourism sector in a nod to Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” movies.

The Kazakhstan tourism board has embraced the catchphrase from the “Borat” movies for the first time to promote the country to visitors after previously rejecting the first “Borat” film for its derogatory portrayal of the nation situated between Russia and China. The sequel, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” which is out on Amazon Prime this month, has made waves in the U.S. and beyond. 

“The first Borat film came out in 2006, and Kazakhstan’s government responded with outrage, banning the film and threatening lawsuits,” Dennis Keen, the creator of the tourism concept and an American living in Kazakhstan, told USA TODAY. “When the sequel came out this year, Kazakh Tourism decided to flip the script and have fun with Borat’s catchphrase, ‘Very Nice!’, adapting it for the country’s tourism campaign.”

Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said in a release that the slogan is the “perfect description” for the tourism potential in the country. 

“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,” Sadvakassov continued.

Sadvakassov added that the country wants people to experience Kazakhstan themselves by visiting in 2021 or later on so that they can see for themselves that Borat’s “homeland” is nicer than they might have heard. 

Since 2017, the country has been offering travel visa-free to citizens of dozens of countries, including the United States — though that program has been temporarily suspended until Sunday.

The suspension began in April as the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the globe. Kazakhstan has seen more than 110,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1,800 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The tourism campaign video’s description on YouTube touts the country as a place viewers may have heard of, but one that is nicer than “ever imagined.”

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