Cambodia’s tour guides face tech disruption

A van arrives at Angkor Wat Temple and deposits its load of foreigners who make their way to the World Heritage Site. Noticeably absent among them is a local guide. The tourists brought their own guide, a handheld device that can speak up to 14 languages.

Developed by local company Angkor Audio, the device enables foreign tourists the luxury of wandering the ancient site at their own leisure without being harried and rushed along by local guides. This has raised concerns among tour guides about their livelihood.

The devices may be rented by tourists or travel agents for US$2.99 for the first month of use. There are 30,000 sets of these devices currently undergoing tests. Ironically, Angkor Audio also rents out group tour systems, a portable broadcast system that lets tour guides communicate with their guests over wireless headsets. Like the group tour systems, the Angkor App is an extension of its conference equipment rental business.

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