You could forgive Kazakhstan tourism officials for not being thrilled about the image of the country as displayed in Sacha Baron Cohen’s two Borat movies. The comedian’s character claims to be from the former Soviet republic, fictionalizing all kinds of negative facts about the country. (No, its people don’t actually drink horse urine.) But now the country is getting on board with the Borat fame, and has actually adopted the comic’s catchphrase “Very nice!” as a tourism slogan.
A tourism video released Sunday shows visitors to Kazakhstan enjoying the country’s natural beauty, cuisine, traditions and urban amenities, exclaiming a version of “Very nice!” after each experience. And while it’s not explained in the video, the man who sips from a pottery bowl at a market stall, while not drinking horse urine, is actually drinking traditional fermented horse milk, according to The New York Times.
“In COVID times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media,” Kairat Sadvakassov, the deputy chairman of the tourism board, told the Times. “Not in the nicest way, but it’s good to be out there.”
And Sacha Baron Cohen himself sent the newspaper a statement praising the country he teases in his films.
“This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country,” he said in part. “The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version.”
The second Borat film,, is now available on Amazon Prime Video.