Kazakhstan has adopted the well-known catchphrase of fictional journalist Borat Sagdiyev to attract visitors to the country. Its tourism board has released a marketing video that uses Borat's "very nice" saying to show off the country's assets.

This may come as a surprise to some as the first Borat "mockumentary," Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, caused outrage in the country in 2006. Kazakh authorities took umbrage at some of the comedy film's less-than-flattering depictions of the country, and placed ads in US newspapers disputing some of its claims.

An aerial view of Astana in Kazakhstan
Cohen said the real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country © evgenykz/Shutterstock

While Kazakhstan threatened to sue creator Sacha Baron Cohen, it was subsequently mollified when the movie ended up increasing the country's appeal to visitors. It has now released its campaign to coincide with the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan on Prime Video. “This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country,” said Sasha Baron Cohen Cohen, in a statement. “The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version."

Harnessing some of Borat's star wattage, the marketing video contains four short advertisements that highlight the country's scenery and culture. They depict visitors hiking with a selfie stick, admiring the architecture, posing for a photograph with Kazakhs in traditional dress and drinking fermented horse milk at a market. The visitors all use Borat's soundbite "very nice" to describe the country’s landscapes, architecture, food and culture.

Big Almaty Lake in Tien Shan Mountains in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Borat has helped to attract travelers to Kazakhstan © Aureliy/Shutterstock

“The slogan offers the perfect description of Kazakhstan’s vast tourism potential in a short, memorable way," says Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism. "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."

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