Rose Gephart Humanities and Social Science
Tour Guides in Angkor Wat: Narrativization, Licensing, and Discourse
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor War has become central to the Cambodian economy through the utilization of international tourism in the past few decades. My SURF project looks at local tour guides in Siem Reap, Cambodia and their discursive relationship to international tourists. I will address three issues: how does tour guide folklore relate to the cultural heritage of Angkor Wat, how state intervention and licensing creates a spectrum of official versus unofficial tour guides, and thirdly how the narrativization of Angkor Wat is dependent on the exchange of official and unofficial discourse through different types of tour guides. I will be conducting interviews with tour guides and Ministry of Tourism officials while attending various types of tours. The significance of this project is to understand the impact of international tourism on the local perspective through the Cambodian tour guide industry of Angkor Wat.