Very nice Mr Borat

Have you seen the new Borat film yet? It is very funny and in some parts quite alarming ( I will let you watch and come to your own conclusions). If I have piqued your curiosity the full title of the film is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

So have you ever thought of visiting Kazakhstan? Maybe now after the film. Kazakhstan Tourism thinks it would be a great idea – in fact it would be “VERY NICE” for you to visit Kazakhstan so they have adopted Borat’s oft repeated phrase as part of their new tourism campaign – here is just a sample.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity and I can testify to that. Kazakhstan had never been on my radar until I started looking through some of the natural wonders there – it really is a beautiful country. There are deserts with huge sand dunes, canyons to rival the Grand Canyon, ancient cities and fascinting history of the gulags established under Stalin and the German influence in these cities like Karaganda where many Germans were imprisoned.

There are lots of tourism boards out there who have been very happy with the publicity of a popular film. Just think of Cool Runnings and how Calgary rose to fame with that film. Did they find the Jamaican bobsled yet? We watched the film in South Africa with our boys and when we made the decision to move to Calgary the boys asked “Where’s Calgary???” “Remember the film Cool Runings? Well that’s Calgary”

“Oh wow – yay” they said. It was like they were going to somewhere they knew and of course the first place we had to visit was Ranchmans. So sad to see this iconic Calgary spot closed down.

Other famous films have inspired travel – Out of Africa just gave viewers the feel of being right in the heart of this fascinating continent. The Telegraph’s Caroline Eden travelled there with Abercrombie & Kent and wrote ….

“Lounging on a picnic blanket high up on Kenya’s Oloololo Escarpment, I felt I had been here before. The goldenhued savannah view was instantly recognisable. That is because this part of the Maasai Mara, known as the Mara Triangle, is where some of the most famous scenes in Out of Africa were filmed.

Where my husband and I had settled down for lunch had been carefully chosen. It was the exact spot where a wistful Meryl Streep (playing Danish author Karen Blixen) and a smouldering Robert Redford (playing her lover Denys Finch Hatton) posed for the iconic film poster, one of the most recognisable images in cinema history.”

And how many people haven’t gone to Italy just to track down the places featured in Dan Brown’s books and films? Just something about being on THAT spot and knowing the background and the history makes it all that more inspiring and thrilling.

But the king of them all just has to be Lord of the Rings. According to the general manager of Western long haul markets for Tourism New Zealand, Gregg Anderson, “We’ve seen a 50% increase in arrivals to New Zealand since Lord of the Rings.” The first film in the trilogy, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, was released in 2001.

MATAMATA, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 04: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tours Hobbiton on October 4, 2018 in Matamata, New Zealand. The Prime Minister has announced funding to support the Matamata-Piako District develop opportunities in tourism and infrastructure with an initial investment of up to $1.7 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. The visit comes following the Prime Minister’s appearance on US TV Show the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where Jacinda Ardern revealed she had auditioned for a role in The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images,)

So you never know – maybe this will be a new beginning for Kazakhstan once we have this damn COVID under control!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Thanks for the Calgary shout out! I have actually had Kazakh chocolate and that and Russian chocolate are the best chocolate I have ever had! Try them! They are severely underrated


      1. It was funny once that my cousin tried to fight me on my assessment of Russian and Kazakh chocolate when she’s never had chocolate from another country in her life!


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