Visa applications to Kazakhstan rise, thanks to Borat movie

27th April 2012

Despite the government initially banning the film and threatening to sue, Kazakhstan's foreign minister has officially thanked Borat for helping boost tourism to the country

Kazakhstan authorities have thanked Sacha Baron Cohen's creation, Borat, after visa applications increased by tenfold.

Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov recently stood up in parliament and said: “I salute "Borat" for helping attract tourists to Kazakhstan. After this film, the number of visas issued to Kazakhstan grew by ten times. This is a big victory for us and I thank Borat for attracting tourists.”

When the 'mockumentary', called Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, was first released in 2006, the authorities had a different reaction to the one seen earlier this week. Officials initially claimed the film portrayed the country unfairly, wrongly depicting Kazakhs as sexist, racist and primitive. The authorities then banned the sales of DVDs, blocked the Borat website and threatened to sue.

In the film, Sacha Baron Cohen's character dons a luminous green mankini, makes jokes about incest and prostitution and travels across the USA in search of the actress Pamella Anderson.

Although the opposing parties seemed to have buried the hatchet, the film is still causing problems for the country six years down the line. It was only last month that the Kazakh government lodged a complaint with the Olympic Committee of Asia when the mock national anthem featured in the film was played after a Kazakh sportswomen won gold in a shooting contest.

The 'anthem' which includes the lyrics: 'Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region. Except of course Turkmenistan’s' understandably caused uproar among the country's shooting team. To avoid future embarrassment, the Kazakh embassy in London has reportedly been ordered to ensure London Olympic Officials know which one is the correct national anthem.

Despite Borat's best efforts to poo-poo Kazakhstan, tourism to the region is growing although it is still little-visited. The oil-rich country has vast and varied landscapes of mountainous wilderness and bustling cityscapes. The stunning Altay and Tian Shan mountains boast an array of rural pursuits such as trekking, rock climbing and horseriding, while Almaty and Astana house dramatic and inventive architecture.

More like this

Where eagles dare: A small insight into an honourable and traditional Kazahk event | Destinations... More

Captain Scott anniversary boosts Antarctica tourism | News... More

Insider Secrets: Finding Butch Cassidy's skeleton | Blogs... More

Get the lowdown on the bureaucracy of borders with our guide to the essential travel documents: Passports & visas | Advice... More

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!

 Your Comments (0)



Key Facts

  • Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan travel guide, including map of Kazakhstan, top Kazakhstan travel experiences, and tips for travel in Kazakhstan

  • More Experiences



Departure date:
Open the calendar popup.
Return date:
Open the calendar popup.
Date flexibility:
Spin UpSpin Down

Need some travel planning inspiration?

Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.

Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking. Enjoy!


Wanderlust in your inbox

Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!

I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions