Using documents from French archives, the article analyses the initial enterprises of the mainly French entrepreneurs in developing colonial tourism around the Cambodian Angkor’s temples at the beginning of the twentieth century. These documents clearly show the colonial administration’s lack of interest in developing this sector, and how its officials only wished to exploit Angkor’s archaeological heritage for political propaganda in France. In fact, compared to its more active role in the other African colonies, the metropolitan government did practically nothing to develop tourism in this region, merely financing an extremely small amount of money to provide infrastructures to welcome the archaeologists involved in temple restoration, and the very few travellers who came to Angkor. Indeed, the French government’s main objective was to increase consensus on the idea of colonial expansion, which was increasingly under threat from internal opposition and local resistance, in an attempt to show its role in pacification of the area, and to celebrate the merits of civilisation.
Keywords: Impero coloniale francese, Indocina, Turismo, Propaganda, Angkor
Nicola Mocci, Political propaganda and tourism development in French Indochina: the case of Angkor. Parole chiave: French colonial empire, Indochina, Tourism, Propaganda, Angkor in "STORIA URBANA " 143/2014, pp. 43-67, DOI:10.3280/SU2014-143003