Tour guides as tourist products in Dalat, Vietnam: Exploring market freedoms in a communist state

Asia Pacific Viewpoint, Vol. 56, No. 2, August 2015 ISSN 1360-7456, pp237–251

Jamie Gillen,* Rusty Kirby† and Micheline van Riemsdijk‡

Asia Pacific Viewpoint - Wiley Online Library

Abstract: This paper investigates how tour guides position themselves in Vietnam’s transition from a command economy to market socialism. The case study of the Dalat Easy Riders motorcycle guides demonstrates that tour guides take advantage of, personify and contribute to the economic, political and social transitions in the country. Relatedly, we argue that Vietnam’s transition (known as đổi mới) is a key component of the Easy Riders’ promotional narratives. In sum, we analyse how tour guides become tourist products in a transitional society.

Keywords: Dalat, post-socialism, reform, tour guides, Vietnam