After years of fighting back, Kazakhstan is finally embracing that it is…very nice!
Timed with the release of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” the country of Kazakhstan released a series of new promotional tourism videos, leaning into the famous catchphrase from a character they once hated.
In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional character, Borat Sagdiev, brought Kazakhstan to international attention — albeit not in the most flattering light, which is why the film prompted an icy reception from the country at first. The government banned “Borat,” threatened to sue Cohen and took out a four-page advertisement in the New York Times to defend the country.
But 14 years later, as the sequel is released, Kazakhstan has softened their approach to Cohen’s famous character. Kazakh Tourism decided to co-opt Borat’s “Very Nice” catchphrase and make it their own. A new tourism campaign shows travelers across Kazakhstan, agreeing that the country’s food, landscapes, and people are, indeed, very nice.
“The slogan 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,” Kairat Sadvakassov, Deputy Chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure. “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.”
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on">on Twitter, on">on Instagram or at caileyrizzo.com.
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