Tourism and transitional geographies: Mismatched expectations of tourism investment in Vietnam

Kate Lloyd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The Vietnamese state's interaction with international capital has been influenced by the Communist Party's strategy to develop a 'socialist market economy' which aims to maintain the leading role of the state and its one party dominance while implementing economic reforms. This is at odds with alternatives proposed by neo-liberal institutions such as the IMF and World Bank who favour a progression towards a more fully-fledged market economy coupled with political pluralism. As a result, foreign investors and the Vietnamese government have had a turbulent relationship over the past decade stemming in large part from differing perceptions of a market economy and what foreign investment should entail. This paper depicts the principal issues that lay behind the restrictive policies toward foreign tour operators through a case study of their management and regulation in Vietnam throughout the 1990s. It is argued that foreign tour operators and Vietnamese tourism authorities perceive the role of international capital in tour operations quite differently. Over-regulation has provided little space for foreign tour businesses to operate in a manner that has met their expectations, while government policies have been intent on ensuring that profits remain in the country. This paper also illustrates how social networks undermine top-down government policy directives and allow foreign tour businesses to continue operating, albeit in a complex and insecure environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


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