SURF

Rose Gephart

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.

Message to Sponsor

In the summer of 2011 I stayed in Siem Reap, Cambodia for one week as a tourist, since then I have harbored a personal interest in Siem Reap and have reflected upon how much tourism affected the atmosphere and people of Siem Reap. The SURF fellowship has provided me with the opportunity to explore this concept using academic methods that will prepare me for future prospects in my field and I have the greatest honor of working with Professor Nelson Graburn who has over fifty years of experience in the field of tourism studies.
  • Major: Anthropology
  • Sponsor: JSB Fund
  • Mentor: Nelson Graburn, Anthropology