Turkmenbashi, the next Cabo

An isolated, inaccessible, and well, just plain strange country on the Central Asian steppe, Turkmenistan is now looking to shed its unpleasant image and open its doors to tourists. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov—let’s call him “Berdy” for short—recently announced that his country will spend $1 billion on a new resort in the town of Turkmenbashi, a ...

600393_070724_berdy_05.jpg
600393_070724_berdy_05.jpg

An isolated, inaccessible, and well, just plain strange country on the Central Asian steppe, Turkmenistan is now looking to shed its unpleasant image and open its doors to tourists.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov—let's call him "Berdy" for short—recently announced that his country will spend $1 billion on a new resort in the town of Turkmenbashi, a historic port on the Caspian Sea renamed in 1993 for the recently deceased, delusional dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, who styled himself the "Father of all Turkmen".

The plans for the resort include 60 hotels, restaurants, a 3,000-seat stadium, sports facilities, shopping centers, and what the BBC describes as "glimmering spaceship-like skyscrapers." And for those on the lookout for interesting investment opportunities, Berdy is putting out the welcome mat for foreign investors as well, making it the country's first free economic zone.

An isolated, inaccessible, and well, just plain strange country on the Central Asian steppe, Turkmenistan is now looking to shed its unpleasant image and open its doors to tourists.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov—let’s call him “Berdy” for short—recently announced that his country will spend $1 billion on a new resort in the town of Turkmenbashi, a historic port on the Caspian Sea renamed in 1993 for the recently deceased, delusional dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, who styled himself the “Father of all Turkmen”.

The plans for the resort include 60 hotels, restaurants, a 3,000-seat stadium, sports facilities, shopping centers, and what the BBC describes as “glimmering spaceship-like skyscrapers.” And for those on the lookout for interesting investment opportunities, Berdy is putting out the welcome mat for foreign investors as well, making it the country’s first free economic zone.

Every new tourism campaign requires an enticing slogan, and Turkmenistan’s is no different. So far, “A new era, a new Turkmenistan” has tickled Berdy’s fancy. But here are a couple more for Turkmenistan’s new ruler to consider:

  • “Turkmenistan: home to more giant golden statues than anywhere else on Earth.”
  • “Come to Turkmenistan and we might rename a month after you.”
  • “Visit sunny Turkmenistan, where one book is all you need.”
  • “Sick of libraries and hospitals? We don’t have those.”

Surely, it’s only a matter of time before MTV Spring Break shows up.

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