• Ricardo Cisneros

Kazakhstan: from Borat to Expo Astana 2017

Updated: Nov 15, 2018

12/2016 - Week Seminar on how to promote cities with mega-events?


I really understand how embarrassed my Kazakhs friends feel when we talk about the movie "Borat" from Baron Sacha Cohen. I explain very often that this is the typical case when a country that didn't had no international brand saw its image and reputation stolen by a third party.


This pushed the authorities to develop an international campaign to change the international perception on the country. One way to change this image of the country is by organizing an international Exposition.


The project initiated with the visit of the President Nazerbayev to Shanghai 2010. The promotion of the international candidacy was in 2012. That year, I organized a trip to Astana with 152 delegates accredited to the BIE, I remember that we showed them: an empty land in the middle of nowhere and on the background the center of Astana.


Visit.of the Expo site. Symposium organized in Astana in 2012 with all BIE Delegates.

On each side of the podium, few pictures showing how the Expo would look like in 2017.



In 2017, when I visited the Expo I was impressed with all the urban development of the city. The economic dynamism that was generated by the Expo Astana 2017.

The National pavilion during the Expo.

During the seminar organized with the students at ISCOM, I asked them to imagine a communication and PR campaign to benefit from the opportunity to have the Expo organized in Kazakhstan to promote their country and in particular concerning the tourism, their culture and eventual business opportunities. From my perspective, the real success of an Expo is only if the local populations benefit from it. The places where Expos are organized should be better after the event than before.

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