has created a socio-cultural milieu within which the Khmer Rouge and Angkor now continuously intersect, often shaping each other in mutuallyconstitutive ways.
The chapter concludes by brieﬂy reﬂecting upon howsuch a tourism industry has shaped processes of economic development,nationalism, and the country’s cultural landscape since the beginning of the 1990s.
50s, American, 10-day package to Thailand and Cambodia
):If somebody says Cambodia, what do you think of, the killing ﬁeldsor Angkor Wat, there is nothing else that comes to mind.Yukio (
50, Japanese, 3-day tour to Bangkok and Siem Reap
): Yes Iheard of Angkor Wat, but all I knew about Cambodia was that it wasdangerous, that’s all I knew.
To date, studies of tourism in Cambodia have essentially fallen within theremit of policy, and received little or no academic attention. Cambodia’s post-conﬂict tourism industry has undoubtedly been both shaped and hin-dered by the country’s grossly inadequate social and physical infrastructures.Roads, airports, hotels, and the range of skills required for a hospitalityindustry have all required overhauling over the last decade or so. Given suchdemands, World Bank or UNESCO heritage management reports have prin-cipally discussed tourism in terms of facility provision or infrastructuredevelopment. In contrast, little attention has been given to the cultural arti-facts produced and circulated by the travel and tourism industry and the rolethey play in shaping broader social processes such as Cambodia’s socio-economic development or post-war nationalistic anxieties.In response, this chapter offers four analytical themes—
the lure of the jungle; the well-trodden path; revival and restoration; megalomania
—toexplore the ways in which the country is (re)presented to, framed by, and known by, today’s international visitor. Together, these four themes explorenotions of place, culture, and history in metaphorical, metonymical, and lit-eral terms. The chapter speciﬁcally focuses on the connections between thesymbolic economies of tourism and the material realities of actually beinga tourist in the country. This approach, referred to by Crouch (2005) as“embodied semiotics,” analytically juxtaposes a diverse range of represen-tations and narratives—including hotel interiors, Hollywood ﬁlms, or decades of television news coverage—with the various ways in whichtourists talk about and actually encounter the country. Pursuing such ananalysis reveals how—despite being separated by hundreds of years and providing the country with two vastly different historical legacies—theKhmer Rouge and Angkor periods do not merely converge but actually fold through and re-cast one another within a socio-cultural landscape of con-