Gregory Dolgos - Nov 25, 2008

The Kazakhs were outraged by the 2006 British comic Sacha Baron Cohen"s movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. In this mockumentary, Kazakhstan is depicted as backward quasi-mediaeval racist country. The real Kazakhstan has little in common with the one presented in Borat. The makers of the movie claim they had no intention to portrait the real Kazakhstan. An example for all, the scenes from Borat’s Kazakhstan home were actually shot in a Gypsy village in Romania. Nevertheless, the anger of Kazakhs has a bit faded away as they realized that the movie has drawn positive attention to their country.

Kenzhebay Satzhanov, deputy chairman of Kazakhstan"s tourism and sports ministry, said that people now want to come to Kazakhstan to learn whether the movie was telling the truth or not. Actually the movie was more successful in gaining attention of the world than governmental activities. The deputy sees the movie as a free of charge advertising. As a result, after the movie there was a 13 per cent increase in inbound tourism.

Kazakhstan was never really an interesting destination for leisure tourists, even though its popularity grows partly because of the movie. Nevertheless, the tourism industry is mainly dependent on business tourists. The country is rich in oil and gas which attracts foreign investors. Thanks to those travelers tourism industry represented 5% of the GDP in 2005. To accommodate needs of the business travelers there have been significant improvements in the accommodation and transportation infrastructure.

The country, however, may offer also certain value to leisure tourists. Kazakhstan is a country with beautiful landscapes as well as rich wildlife. It is an ideal destination for hiking, mountaineering, fishing, bird watching or hunting. Adventurous tourists may stay in Kazakh traditional tent homes, yurts, if they are bored with comfort hotel accommodation. The Kazakh tourism industry is still developing and the offer of tourism services is ever widening.


  1. Isn't it paradox? So first Kazakhstan is angry with the movie. Now they think it is useful after all. Haven't watched it yet. Is it a good movie?

  2. It's a very funny, terribly offensive and sometimes gross satire about a bumbling reporter from Kazakhstan (Cohen) who travels to American and while on his crusade to gain wisdom from this "superior" country reveals that America has problems of it's own. Shows that a nation like Kazakhstan (fictional or not in Borat's portrayal) might be a more attractive place to live or visit than America.

  3. i found the film interseting and funny; it compares and contrasts the differences between kazakhstan and the usa. in fact, i ended up laughing more about america than the usa; it appears to be more backward han kazakhstan. in he way it is potrayed!

  4. If I were Kazakhstani, I wouldn't be half so worried as I would be if I were American. They came out of this far worse, it was totally sending them up as far as I could see, and that's what made it really funny!

    (United Kingdom)

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