A senior Kazakh official has credited the comedy film Borat for helping increase tourism in the Central Asian state, the news agency Tengrinews reports.
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen created the fictional character Borat, purportedly a Kazakh reporter, for the 2006 satirical film that represented Kazakhs as misogynist, racist and stupid.
But Kazakhstan has increased the number of tourist visas tenfold since the release of Cohen’s movie, Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov said.
"And I thank you that you have attracted tourists to Kazakhstan," Kazykhahov said.
Kazakhstan’s authoritarian leadership in the months after the movie came called Cohen's depiction of the ignorant and bigoted Borat as insulting, and not typical of residents of the energy-rich country.
The character Borat's negative depiction of Kazakhstan returned to international headlines last month when officials at a Kuwaiti sports tournament accidentally played the fake version of the Kazakh national anthem, which Cohen wrote for the movie, in honour of a Kazakhstan athlete’s gold medal performance in a shooting competition.
The film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, follows fictional journalist Borat Sagdiyev as he travels to the US and interacts with American citizens, in an attempt to meet actress Pamela Anderson.