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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kazakhstan Thanks Borat For Tourism 'Boost'

The country's foreign minister credits Sacha Baron Cohen for a tenfold increase in visa applications.
Six years after Kazakhstan banned the film Borat, the former Soviet republic is now applauding Sacha Baron Cohen for helping to bring tourists to the former Soviet republic.

Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov said on Monday that ever since the release of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the number of people applying for visas to the country has increased ten times, even though no parts of the documentary were actually filmed in Kazakhstan. (Of course, this probably means that next to no one besides oil and gas magnates were visiting Kazakhstan before 2006.)

Surely Mr. Kazykhanov isn't giving his own country's manifold attractions their due by pinning all the success on Cohen, because how could one not want to go to Kazakhstan when they have, the, umm, Baikonur Cosmodrome! Or the steppes! Or oil rigs! Or the cosmopolitan delights of Almaty!

Anyhow, the acclaim from the massive Central Asian country, if nothing else, will probably help Cohen's box office bottom line once he releases The Dictator later this year.

[BBC]

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