Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Suppliers’ Perspectives on Authentic Souvenir Products: A case of Luang Prabang, Laos

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posted on 2021-11-23, 20:29 authored by Soukhathammavong, Bouavanh

Research on authenticity of souvenirs has been approached from the tourists’ perspective given the fact that souvenirs are viewed as items functioning as a reminder or collection tool of destination experience. The heavily weighted view on authentic souvenirs from the user’s view point overlooked the suppliers’ role in producing and supplying authentic items, and this research aims to fill this research gap by identifying the meaning of authentic souvenirs, sources of souvenir supply/production, and the values and challenges of souvenir production from the souvenir suppliers' perspective. This research uses Laos as its case study, in particular, Luang Prabang (LPB) province which has had a rapid growth of tourists at its UNESCO World Heritage site and increased demand for authentic souvenirs accordingly.  Qualitative research was employed to generate greater meanings by using interview and participant observation as instruments to collect data. The purposive and snowball sampling were used to seek potential and appropriate key souvenir suppliers. Twenty-four souvenir suppliers were selected from four different groups, namely: souvenir producers, souvenir vendors, souvenir retailers, and middlemen. The research was conducted between July and September 2017 in various tourist hotspots in LPB, Laos, such as LPB night market, Phanom Village (Phanom Handicraft Centre), Royal Palace Museum, Kuangsi waterfall and OCK POP TOK. These attractions were selected because they attracted both suppliers and tourists. The raw data was analysed through thematic analysis manually. Major themes derived from interview sections have been combined with participant observation data to certify/confirm the validity.  In general, the key findings in this research indicate that LPB souvenir suppliers view authentic souvenir products as crucial because of their historical and cultural representation, including the significance of place identity. Major souvenir suppliers agree that authentic souvenirs should be related to the handicrafts and produced by local craftsmen. The products should represent LPB’s authenticity and Lao culture. Souvenir suppliers believe that a good authentic souvenir can establish a great image for the tourism industry in LPB as well as Laos. This research newly finds that attitudes toward, and willingness to sell, imported and mass-produced souvenirs are more typical of souvenir vendors as they have less resources including financial limitation. On one hand, this research identifies three key values perceived by the suppliers: economic, symbolic and artisan. On the other hand, one issue with which souvenir suppliers are confronted relate to lack of raw materials.  This research presents important implications for both academia and practitioners. For academia, this research contributes to the tourism product research from the souvenir supplier’s view point where the literature in tourism research is not yet fully developed. Academic researchers can adopt the conceptual framework proposed in this thesis and refer to the findings as their reference for further studies. Practitioners and souvenir sectors in tourist destinations, including marketers and government agencies, should acknowledge and consider issues addressed by various suppliers. Further solutions should be implemented in collaboration with tourism stakeholders to sustain and improve souvenir businesses.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Tourism Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Tourism Management

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Park, Eerang