The authentic souvenir: What does it mean to souvenir suppliers in the heritage destination?
School of Business and Law
The current study aims to investigate souvenir suppliers' perceptions of authentic souvenirs in the context of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Laos, Luang Prabang (LPB). The findings suggest that authentic souvenirs need to integrate culture and history to represent place identity of the destination, to be handmade and produced within LPB, to have a unique, attractive presentation, and to require local-specific skills of local artisans or recognisable person for craftsmanship. The research finds that attitudes toward and willingness to sell mass-produced souvenirs are more typical of souvenir vendors because of the limited business resources. This paper discusses the suppliers’ consensus on the issue of origin and locality of souvenirs, which is a strong pursuit of objective authenticity of souvenirs, but challenges exist, in particular, increasing demand over the volume of local souvenir production and a fierce competition with international traders in the local market.