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Relative contributions of souvenirs on memorability of a trip experience and revisit intention: a study of visitors to Rovaniemi, Finland

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Abstract

For some tourists, shopping is a “must-do” activity, and many tourists’ purchases can be classified as souvenirs. This study employs a grounded theory approach to explore the central elements of souvenirs that help tourists reminisce about their holiday experiences and encourage their intentions to revisit a place. Based on semi-structured interviews with visitors to Rovaniemi, Finland, from 14 different nationalities, uniqueness, usability and functionality emerged as central elements that prolonged memorability of the travel experience and encouraged revisit intention. This research contradicts studies indicating that a lack of authenticity is an attraction when buying souvenirs and that tourists purchase “genuine counterfeit products” while on holiday due to their lower prices. The managerial implications of this study are that tourism service providers who sell souvenirs in similar contexts should invest more resources on offering objects that represent uniqueness and on local food products and clothes, as well as kitchenware, which represent usability and functionality
See dis cussi ons , st ats , and aut ho r pro file s for thi s p ubli cat ion at : htt ps://www.res ear chga te.n et/p ubl icat io n/3185 0305 4
Relative contributions of souvenirs on memorability of a trip experience and
revisit intention: a study of visitors to Rovaniemi, Finland
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DOI: 10.1080/15022250.2017.1354717
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Relative contributions of souvenirs on
memorability of a trip experience and revisit
intention: a study of visitors to Rovaniemi, Finland
Erose Sthapit & Peter Björk
To cite this article: Erose Sthapit & Peter Björk (2017): Relative contributions of souvenirs on
memorability of a trip experience and revisit intention: a study of visitors to Rovaniemi, Finland,
Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/15022250.2017.1354717
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Relative contributions of souvenirs on memorability of a trip
experience and revisit intention: a study of visitors to
Rovaniemi, Finland
Erose Sthapit
a
and Peter Björk
b
a
Department of Marketing, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland;
b
HANKEN School of Economics, Vasa, Finland
ABSTRACT
For some tourists, shopping is a must-doactivity, and many
touristspurchases can be classified as souvenirs. This study
employs a grounded theory approach to explore the central
elements of souvenirs that help tourists reminisce about their
holiday experiences and encourage their intentions to revisit a
place. Based on semi-structured interviews with visitors to
Rovaniemi, Finland, from 14 different nationalities, uniqueness,
usability and functionality emerged as central elements that
prolonged memorability of the travel experience and encouraged
revisit intention. This research contradicts studies indicating that a
lack of authenticity is an attraction when buying souvenirs and
that tourists purchase genuine counterfeit productswhile on
holiday due to their lower prices. The managerial implications of
this study are that tourism service providers who sell souvenirs in
similar contexts should invest more resources on offering objects
that represent uniqueness and on local food products and clothes,
as well as kitchenware, which represent usability and functionality.
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 9 February 2017
Accepted 27 June 2017
KEYWORDS
Souvenirs; memorability;
memorable tourism
experience; revisit intention;
Finland
Introduction
Although they may not travel for the purpose of shopping, many tourists do shop while
travelling (Kinley, Forney, & Kim, 2012), and shopping decisions also play a role in the
travel decisions of tourists (Makkonen, 2016). Tourists tend to acquire tangible reminders
of their special time in the form of souvenirs and artefacts, which function as reminders of
the destination visited and also symbolise travel experiences (Mossberg, 2007). Dong and
Siu (2013) define such purchase behaviour as experience intensification; that is, visitors
purchase souvenirs and gifts to make their travel experience more tangible. In fact, many
tourists feel that a trip is not complete if they have not purchased souvenirs (Swanson &
Horridge, 2006). Souvenirs are vital for the tourism economy (Griggio, 2015), while selling
and buying of souvenirs are routine activities at tourism destinations (Swanson & Timothy,
2012). However, the study acknowledges that some holidaymakers try to distance them-
selves from what they perceive as the typical or common tourist role and thus hardly buy
souvenirs, that is, having anti-tourist attitudes(Jacobsen, 2000). This line of reasoning
was already depicted in Rekdals(1972) study where young white tourists began to
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
CONTACT Erose Sthapit erose.sthapit@uva.fi Department of Marketing, University of Vaasa, Wolffintie 34, Vaasa FI
65200, Finland
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1080/15022250.2017.1354717
distance themselves from traditional masks as a response to vulgar tourist perceptions of
African culture (Rekdal, 1972,1988, cited in Jacobsen, 2009).
Until recently, the souvenir has not been a common topic of scholarship (Kong & Chang,
2016), even though it has been a relevant part of the leisure experience for many visitors
(Murphy, Moscardo, Benckendorff, & Pearce, 2011) and as a signifier of memory (Timothy,
2005). According to Swanson and Horridge (2006), a number of empirical studies have
explored souvenirs, focusing on the meaning of souvenirs (Shenhav-Keller, 1993), purcha-
sers of souvenirs (Anderson & Littrell, 1996), authenticity (Asplet & Cooper, 2000), purchase
intention (Kim & Littrell, 2001) and travel motivation (Swanson & Horridge, 2006). Recent
studies have also focused on the meaning and value of souvenirs (Haldrup, 2017; Paraske-
vaidis & Andriotis, 2015), and touristsactual souvenir shopping behaviours (Correia &
Kozak, 2016; Kong & Chang, 2016). Swanson and Timothy (2012) suggested two con-
ceptions to better understand the role of souvenirs. One involves the tourists perspective,
which is that souvenirs are tangible objects or intangible experiences that are symbolic
reminders of an event or experience. The other conception concerns the suppliers per-
spective, which is that souvenirs are tourism commodities that can be found in souvenir
shops and handicraft markets. The focus in this study is on souvenirs as tangible proof
of touriststravelling experiences.
Souvenirs are among the most pervasive elements of the travel experience and may
trigger positive memories of peoples holidays (Torabian & Arai, 2016), however, little
attention has been given to the central elements of souvenirs that contribute to tourists
memorability of the trip experience and the revisit intention spurred by their purchase.
Regarding the research methodology, although souvenirs enable stories and imaginings
(Miller, 2008; Tolia-Kelly, 2004), surveys are often employed, with a focus on administering
questionnaires to tourists and consumers (Bynum Boley, Magnini, & Tuten, 2013; Collins-
Kreiner & Zins, 2011; Fairhurst, Costello, & Fogle Holmes, 2007; Hu & Yu, 2007; Kim & Littrell,
2001; Kim, Timothy, & Hwang, 2011; Kinley et al., 2012; Kong & Chang, 2016; Lin & Wang,
2012; Murphy et al., 2011; Oviedo-Garcia, Vega-Vazquez, Verdugo, & Reyes-Guizar, 2014;
Swanson & Horridge, 2006; Yuksel & Yuksel, 2007; Wilkins, 2011). Few studies have
made use of methodological approaches consisting of interviews and ethnographies
(Gregson, 2011; Haldrup & Larsen, 2010; Miller, 2008; Trinh, Ryan, & Cave, 2014). Thus, it
is, important to delve deeper into the rationale behind tourist souvenir shopping
(Oviedo-Garcia et al., 2014), and its impact on the memorability of the trip experience
(Swanson & Timothy, 2012) and revisit intention (Yuksel & Yuksel, 2007).
The present study explores some central elements of souvenirs that contribute to tour-
istsmemorability of the trip experience and revisit intention. This study aims to answer
the following two questions: what are the central elements of souvenirs that contribute
to the memorability of a tourists trip experience? Do the pleasant memories of a travel
experience evoked by souvenirs translate into an intention to return to that destination?
Literature review
Tourism souvenirs: what are they?
Asouvenirrefers to a gift, offering or locally produced good related to a specific destina-
tion (Dougoud, 2000). Originally, the word souvenir means to remember(Gordon, 1986).
2E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
Souvenirs are material objects, for example, objects displayed on shelves or refrigerators
(Tolia-Kelly, 2004), that link people with places and memories (Ramsay, 2009) and are
some of the material stuff we live by (Miller, 2008). Souvenirs are often commercial
objects purchased during travel that remind us of past experiences and places visited
and encapsulate intangible emotional experiences (Gordon, 1986). In other words, souve-
nirs are seen as a tangible symbol in the touristsconsumption (Mossberg, 2007). A good
souvenir represents a local culture by expressing its ancestry, language and cosmology
(Medina, 2003). According to Wilkins (2011), the souvenir product mix includes clothing,
hats branded with a destination name and logo, a destinations speciality food, a desti-
nations arts and crafts, photographs and paintings of the destination and other items
(such as key rings, fridge magnets and mugs) representative of the destination.
Swanson and Timothy (2012) offer four souvenir categories: totality souvenirs (e.g.
logoed objects that represent visitorsfeelings about the destination), linking souvenirs
(e.g. functionary household goods such as kitchenware, rugs or apparel), life souvenirs
(e.g. food products that evoke nostalgic feelings) and pilgrimage souvenirs (e.g. a
model pyramid from a pilgrimage site).
Tourism souvenirs: what do they do?
Souvenir shopping is an important source of enjoyment and excitement during a travel-
lers trip (Timothy, 2005), and an essential activity that helps shape travel experiences
(Hu & Yu, 2007). Souvenirs are tangible objects that preserve intangible trip memories,
and serve as reminders of the people, places and events associated with the travel experi-
ence (Kong & Chang, 2016). Tourists bring back mementos and souvenirs as evidence of
the special moments they experienced (Wilkins, 2011). Hitchcock (2000) points out that
items purchased from destinations are more than just mementos of a certain time and
place; the acquisition makes the experience tangible. Graburn (2000) argues that an indi-
vidual who brings a souvenir home can re-live the experience at a routine time and place,
and it can thus bring the extraordinary in some small way to an ordinary space. In some
cases, souvenir purchases could represent a significant portion of a tourists consumption,
directly affecting his or her travel experience (Swanson, 2004). Swanson and Timothy
(2012) observed that tourists return home with souvenirs to help them preserve and com-
memorate their experiences. In addition, souvenirs have the potential to remind people of
an enjoyable experience at a tourist destination and even induce their intentions to revisit
(Kim et al., 2011; Yoon, Lee, & Lee, 2010; Yuksel & Yuksel, 2007). Overall, souvenirs are often
central to the tourism experience, and many tourists want to take home mementos of
places they have been and things they have done. These artefacts are a means by
which memories may be maintained once the person returns to their home environment
(Brennan & Savage, 2012).
Tourism souvenirs: why are they purchased?
Littrell, Anderson, and Browns(1993) study indicates that the propensity to purchase sou-
venirs may be attributed to their perceived authenticity, of which five facets are germane:
uniqueness, workmanship, aesthetic and use, cultural and historical integrity and genuine-
ness. In a study of touristssouvenir purchase intentions, Throsby (2003) suggests the
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 3
following important characteristics of cultural products: aesthetic properties, spiritual sig-
nificance, symbolic meanings, historic importance, artistic trends, authenticity, integrity
and uniqueness. Turner and Reisinger (2001) also found three significant product attri-
butes for tourists purchasing cultural products: value (range, quality), product display
characteristics (colour, display, packaging, size) and uniqueness (memory of the trip).
Trinh et al.s(2014) study indicates that the authenticity of the product, relating to the des-
tination, is an important factor when tourists buy souvenirs. Moreover, shopping literature
often indicates that uniqueness and authenticity are key attributes for souvenir shopping
(Littrell et al., 1993).
On the other hand, studies have also emphasised the practical function of products (Lin
& Mao, 2015). According to Graburn (1989), the product attributes preferred by travellers
include portability, inexpensiveness, cleanness and usability at home. Moreover, people
purchase souvenirs to simply own something unique or something they need (Timothy,
2005). In addition, Li and Cais(2008) study identified five attributes of souvenir shopping,
namely: value, store, collectability, display and functionality. Value attributes refer to the
uniqueness, figuration and the applicability of the souvenir as a gift, while store attributes
relate to in-store service and the location of the shop where the souvenir was purchased,
as well as its atmosphere. The attribute of collectability refers to souvenir quality and its
cultural meaning as a memento of the trip. Display attributes denote the packaging, work-
manship and price of the souvenir. Finally, functionality relates to the utility and fashion-
ability of the souvenir.
Memory and memorable tourism experiences
Memory is an alliance of systems that work together, allowing us to learn from the past
and predict the future(Baddeley, 1999, p. 1). Memory is the most important personal
source of information through which tourists decide whether to revisit a place (Fernandez
& Paez, 2008). However, memoryis a more general concept than memorabilityas the
latter is associated with something unforgettable or extraordinary, whereas memory can
be quite ordinary or mundane (Caru & Cova, 2003). A memorable tourism experience
(MTE) is defined as an important event stored in the memory and recalled after it has
occurred. An MTE is selectively constructed from real tourism experiences and influenced
by the individuals emotional assessment of the holidays opportunities and specific activi-
ties (Perdue, 2003). In addition, it helps to consolidate and reinforce the recollection of
pleasurable happenings experienced by the tourist while exploring the destination
resources (Kim, Ritchie, & McCormick, 2012).
The complexity of investigating MTEs becomes apparent when considering that the
tourism experience is holistic and multifaceted, encompassing a broad range of intercon-
nected processes and dynamics involving anticipation, travelling to the site, the on-site
experience, returning home and post-travel recollections (Braun-LaTour, Grinley, &
Loftus, 2006). In particular, anticipation and expectations, largely constructed prior to tra-
velling, strongly influence on-site experiences, for example, the ways individuals experi-
ence a destination and its hosts (Hospers, 2009). Furthermore, after travelling,
individuals remember particular experiences (Tung & Ritchie, 2011) and these memories
are derived not only from their on-site experiences, but also from the souvenirs purchased
while at the destination (Wilkins, 2011). It is vital for ensuring that tourists have
4E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
unforgettable experiences while travelling because the memorability of a trip is critical as it
holds a certain attraction and intrinsic reward that materialize in the moments of story-
telling(Neumann, 1999, p. 179), reliving an event long after it has occurred (Gilbert &
Abdullah, 2004). In addition, these memories enhance the overall quality of the tourist
experience (Quan & Wang, 2004) and may create positive impressions of a tourism desti-
nation (Kerstetter & Cho, 2004). In addition, a recent study by Hung, Lee, and Huang (2014)
suggested that memorability may be a more appropriate predictor of future behavioural
intentions such as revisiting a place or providing a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Revisit intention
Souvenirs are bought to retain and remember the travel experience (Trinh et al., 2014), and
they enable narratives of distant times and places that can be retold and relived (Morgan &
Pritchard, 2005). In fact, souvenirs concretise and preserve touristsmemories about a trip
(Gordon, 1986), and these memories affect their decision to revisit a tourist destination
(Chandralal & Valenzuela, 2013; Tsai, 2016).
Revisit intention refers to a tourists willingness or plans to visit the same destination
(Cole & Scott, 2004). Revisit intention is a key research topic in tourism and an important
behavioural intention (Jani & Han, 2011). Touristsbehaviours include their selection of
destination to visit, subsequent evaluation of that destination and future behavioural
intentions (Chen & Tsai, 2007). Subsequent evaluations refer to the value perceived by visi-
tors and their satisfaction, while future behavioural intentions refer to their willingness to
revisit the same destination and recommend it to others (Som, Marzuki, Yousefi, & Abu-
Khalifeh, 2012). Destination and event organisations are concerned with the reasons
underlying touristsrevisit intentions, because it commonly costs much less to retain
repeat visitors than to attract new visitors (Um, Chon, & Ro, 2006), and revisit intention
is considered an essential element for an attraction for remaining competitive (Huang &
Hsu, 2009).
Method
Research design, sample selection and research setting
The goal of this study was to explore some central elements of souvenirs that contribute to
the memorability of the trip experiences and revisit intention. Storytelling is critical to
understanding tourism experiences because stories shape memories and impressions of
events over time (McGregor & Holmes, 1999) and the richest accounts tend to centre
on episodic memories (personally experienced events) (Bosangit, Hibbert, & McCabe,
2015). According to Larsen (2007) episodic memory is the individuals store of factual
memories concerning personal experiences. This is just the kind of memories that
would be interesting in relation to the problem of tourist experiences. Therefore, we col-
lected qualitative data through semi-structured interviews. The aim was to obtain insight
into the experiences of the interviewees in their own words.
Thus, this study adopted a grounded theory research design (Glaser & Strauss, 1967)to
analyse the collected data. Creswell and Clark (2007) argue that grounded theory is a
useful method when a theory is unavailable to explain the process. According to
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 5
Bryman, Teevan, and Bell (2009), the grounded theory approach is based on a range of
qualitative research methods that use a systematic set of procedures and simultaneous
(as opposed to sequential) processes of data collection and analysis to develop an induc-
tive derived grounded theory about a phenomenon (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Moreover,
grounded theory possesses a number of unique characteristics compared to other tra-
ditional qualitative methodological approaches, for example, theoretical categories are
not created on a single-step basis but rather through a process of tentative conceptualis-
ation, whereby categories are created and redefined as relationships are clarified. As cat-
egories become saturated by evidence, the researcher can then compare categories and
check the literature to see whether what has emerged fits or confounds existing theory.
Moreover, studies indicate that a grounded theory approach is appropriate for creating
a theoretical model, giving conceptual labels to data, and interpreting data in the fields
of hospitality and tourism (Mehmetoglu & Altinay, 2006). However, few studies have
employed a grounded theory approach in souvenir research (Decrop & Masset, 2014; Tor-
abian & Arai, 2016).
With the help of local tour operators in Rovaniemi, email invitations were sent to 100
respondents for their participation in the study. The sampling criterion for selecting par-
ticipants was limited to an adequate level of souvenir shopping experience, i.e. people
who had taken a vacation in the last two years and had bought souvenirs during their
visit to Rovaniemi. Rovaniemi was selected as the study site because it is an international
and versatile travel destination, which is located in Finlands northernmost province,
Lapland. Since 1984, the Finnish Tourist Board in cooperation with local authorities
began to market Lapland as Santa Claus Land(Haahti & Yavas, 2004). The city of Rova-
niemi was granted a European Community Trademark as the Official Hometown of Santa
Claus in 2010. Besides meeting Santa Claus, one of the major tourist attractions, tourists
visit the destination to engage in a mix of activities in the Arctic nature of the destination.
Activities range from snowmobiling, snowshoeing, husky tours, reindeer sleigh rides, ice
hole fishing, searching for Northern Lights on snowshoes or on a sledge, winter golfing,
to winter driving. Some of the tourist attractions in Rovaniemi include Santa Claus
Village, Santa Park, Arctic Circle, Ounasvaara Sport and Skiing Centre, Arktikum Science
Centre and Ranua Zoo. Around 60% of foreign visitors come to Rovaniemi in the winter
(mid-Novemberend of April). Recent figures show that the destination attracts about
500,000 tourists each year and the majority of the citys foreign tourists are Chinese,
Spanish and Japanese nationals (Visit Finland, 2017).
Interviews and data analysis
The current study initially recruited four participants for individual semi-structured pilot
interviews in September 2016. The pilot interviews lasted 1030 minutes and aimed to
identify key themes and issues related to why, what and where participants bought sou-
venirs in Rovaniemi. They also led to the development of an interview guide for the main
phase of data collection. Then, based on these individual pilot interviews, the interview
guide was revised. The interviews consisted of open-ended questions and were semi-
structured in nature, consisting of three sections.
The first section focused on demographics (e.g. gender, age, marital status, occu-
pation and nationality). The second section focused on the intervieweesvacation
6E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
experiences in Rovaniemi (e.g. When and with whom did you visit Rovaniemi?,What
was your motivation to visit Rovaniemi?and What activities did you participate in
during your stay?). The third section related to intervieweessouvenir shopping experi-
ences (e.g. Did you buy souvenirs during your trip to Rovaniemi?,What kind of sou-
venirs did you buy?,What was your motivation for buying souvenirs?,Did you buy
the souvenir for yourself or others?,Does the souvenir remind you of Rovaniemi?,
Did you plan to buy souvenirs before travelling to Rovaniemi ?,How many souvenirs
did you buy?,What kind of souvenirs do you prefer ?,What is it that makes the sou-
venirs you purchased memorable for you?and Do the souvenirs make you feel like
visiting the destination again?).
All interviews were conducted in English via Skype, between October and Decem-
ber 2016, and lasted 1030 minutes. Notes were taken as the conversations pro-
ceeded. The concept of theoretical sensitivity was applied to the research process
as far as possible. This implies that the researchers entered the field with an awareness
of the topic and area, but without any preconceived notions about what might be dis-
covered (Charmaz, 2006). With the 18th participant, theoretical saturation was
achieved, as fresh data provided no additional valuable insights that could further
enhance the understanding of souvenir shopping experiences. According to Pike
(2012), it is generally recognised that repetition and saturation of responses tends
to occur with approximately 1525 respondents. Analysis was ongoing during the
process of conducting these interviews. When analysing the interview data, the
current study adopted the three steps for a grounded theory approach suggested
by Strauss and Corbin (1990). The first step involved scanning the collected data to
obtain a broad understanding of it. The second step involved reading the interviews
and listing categories of central elements of souvenirs that contributed to tourists
memorability of trip experiences and revisit intentions. In the last step of data analysis,
coding was done using MAXQDA 10 qualitative data analysing software. As rec-
ommended by Strauss and Corbin (1990), three types of coding were employed:
open coding, axial coding and selective coding.
Table 1 illustrates how the open coding (line-by-line coding) worked in practice. The
first column of the table contains the raw data extracted from the transcripts, and the
second column details the initial codes extracted from the raw data through line-by-line
Table 1. Open coding (line-by-line coding) example.
Participants views
(extracted from transcripts)
Open coding
(line-by-line coding)
I think the thing that made a souvenir memorable is the uniqueness. I dont like the things made
by industrials for souvenirs I want something quite unique. Its something that I cant find in
France. Ha ha yes thats totally right I dont really like when things are sold like totally Finnish
and made in China. Sadly its often the case. Yes its the goal of a souvenir, I like to look at it
and try to remember what we did in Rovaniemi.
Unique
It has to be unique, something that I could not find in other places than there and of course
should make me remember the time I was there. Foods and something useful. I prefer this
useful thing because I am very worried about the trash in the planet, and I do think it will not
help if I buy something that I will keep it there for some time and then throw it away.
Unique, useful
Uniqueness and functionality. Things unique to the life style of where I visit and something that
will start a conversation at home because it is unusual. Clothed mugs games, etc. are all useful.
Useful things like clothes. I rarely buy plastic mass production junk.
Unusual, useful
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 7
coding. Every line of each interview transcript was carefully analysed to extract specific
information and the participantsviews. For example,
I think the thing that makes a souvenir memorable is its uniqueness It has to be unique,
something that I could not find in any other place but there and, of course, it should make
me remember the time I was there
was coded as uniqueness. The researchers identied 65 initial codes that summarised
the data. This process of data analysis led to axial coding of the data.
While the purpose of open coding is to divide data into concepts, axial coding helps
researchers to answer the When,Where,Why,Who,Howand With what conse-
quencesquestions (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Thus, the axial coding process reduced the
database into a small set of themes or categories that characterised the process under
study (Creswell, 2007). Through axial coding, it was possible to describe touristssouvenir
shopping practices, as well as the central elements of souvenirs that contributed to the
memorability of trip experiences and revisit intention.
As Table 2 shows, two subthemes were identified and categorised as follows: (1)
uniqueness; and (2) usability and functionality. Selective coding followed the axial
phase of coding. This coding process involved integrating the categories derived from
the open and axial coding processes to form a conceptual framework. The codes and cat-
egories were explored further by rereading the coded statements. During the data analy-
sis, the concepts and relationships revealed by the coding processes were compared with
the ideas and concepts derived from extant literature. This stage involved noting consist-
encies and identifying research ideas/concepts. To further ensure validity and reliability,
Table 2. The coding process in practice.
Open coding
(line-by-line coding)
Subthemes
(axial coding)
Main themes
(selective coding)
Quite unique; that I cant find in my own country; totally Finnish; not
something you will find everywhere; that will start a conversation
at home because it is unusual; that is made in Finland and not
China; unique to Finland; that symbols the place; handcrafted;
genuine; never saw such things before; unique and new for me to
see and have; genuine from the countrys materials that what
make it special and unique; are not sold online so not everyone
can have them easily; authentic; not too normal; limited to the
destination; local characteristics; typical and symbol of Lapland;
not mass-produced junk; locally made; real and genuine; made in
Finland logo; not mass-produced items in shops in UK; related
with Rovaniemi or Lapland in particular; have some relation with
the tradition or folklore of the place; something only available
there; original; place limited; uniqueness; cant compare it with
other goodies; have something that is typical there; something
stating that it comes from somewhere in Finland; strongly
branded as Rovaniemi; only available there; authentic Sami; local;
not industrially produced as souvenirs; cannot find in other places;
Finland flag; unique to the lifestyle where I visit; traditional and
unique to country; have local characteristics; uniqueness of the
items; not plastic mass production junk; most typical of the region;
made from original material; typical; looking for authentic
(reindeer items, typical wooden mugs and so on); only available
there Contributing in daily life; having a usable life; useful; should
be useful daily in my life; not something that I will keep it there for
some time and then throw it away; functionality; practical things;
possibility to use it daily; can use regularly; functional and for daily
use
Unique, unusual, locally
produced, handmade,
genuine, symbolise
Lapland, Finland or
Rovaniemi; authentic;
local usable, functional
in daily life
Uniqueness, usability
and functionality of
purchased souvenirs
as contributing to the
memorability of the
trip experience and
revisit intention
8E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
we considered the overall process of grounded theory as a dynamic relationship between
sampling and data analysis, which enabled us to modify generated categories (subthemes)
so that new data were adapted into the emerging theory. Glaser (1978) refers to this
process as developing an emergent fit. In addition, to ensure the credibility of the find-
ings, we allowed the participants to guide the inquiry process and used the participants
actual words during the coding process (Chiovitti & Piran, 2003).
Results
Overall profile of interviewees
The profile of the respondents included 10 females and 8 males, with ages ranging from 26
to 60 years. The respondentsoccupations were diverse ranging from systems consulting,
dentist, relationship officer, child care worker, travel specialist, English teacher, research
assistant, communications manager, retail manager, transport driver, teacher, first aid
trainer, technician, researcher, co-habitation, guide to journalist, while one of the respon-
dent was unemployed. The household structures varied and included single, married,
cohabiting and de facto relationships. Regarding nationality, the participants were
highly heterogeneous and represented 14 different countries, that is, Brazilian, French,
Kuwaiti, German, New Zealander, Spanish, Taiwanese, American, British, Dutch, Australian,
Finnish, Italian and Croatian (Table 3).
In response to the question, When and with whom did you visit Rovaniemi?The study
participantsresponses ranged from six months to two years ago, and many travelled with
their families (17). The main motivations for visiting Rovaniemi related to meeting Santa
Claus (16), with the exception of two interviewees who mentioned the Northern Lights
(Silvia) and visiting family members (Kari). One participant stated
My motivation for visiting Rovaniemi was, at the beginning, the Santa Claus Office. I went there
for the first time when I was three years old, and I was amazed to meet Santa Claus. Now, each
year, I visit Scandinavia with my parents and we finish our trip in Rovaniemi. (Aurore)
Another said, We had always wanted to reach the Santa Claus Village because, even in
Australia, a lot of children are brought up to believe in Santa, even though it is 45
degrees Celsius there on Christmas Day(Rod).
The respondents participated in diverse activities while in Rovaniemi. One said, The
first thing I did was visit the Santa Claus Village. At night, I went on an adventurous trip
to the heart of Rovaniemi in the forest to search for the Aurora Ice Climbing trip Ark-
tikum Museum(Al-Batool). Others stated,
We took the snowmobile around, tracked the Aurora Borealis with a reindeer sleigh. We went
to visit Santa Claus. We went to the Aurora Museum, then Husky Point to ride a husky sleigh,
and then forward to Kemi City to visit Sampo, the ice breaker. (Pei-Yun)
and We did every single activity we could during the few days we stayed: snowmobile,
huskies, reindeers, and see the Aurora …” (Silvia).
Souvenir shopping
In response to the question, Did you buy souvenirs during your trip to Rovaniemi?All
respondents affirmed that they had (18). The respondentssouvenir purchases while in
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 9
Table 3. Souvenirs purchased and the assessment of the items.
Interviewee Souvenirs purchased Assessment of the items
Helen
(Female, 34, Single, Systems
Consulting, Brazilian)
Bags, a kind moose and reindeers made
of plush, fridge magnet (map of Finland
and a reindeer with northern lights),
mugs, caps, chocolate, food (ruisleipa,
reindeer meat and ham).
I find important that the souvenir should be
useful daily in my life. I dont buy much
things just to have it.
Euler
(Male, 51, Married, Dentist,
Brazilian)
T-shirts with Finnish logos, pullovers,
gloves, caps, badges, stuffed reindeers
and huskies, chocolates, can openers,
key holders etc.
The souvenirs are unique and that we
wouldnt find easily outside Finland, like
snow globes with logos of Santa Claus
Holiday Village or Finland, the stuffed
reindeers and huskies, the wool jackets
with Finnish logos etc. Another important
thing is that the souvenirs should be useful
in our daily lives, T-shirts, key holders, caps
etc.
Aurore
(Female, 26, Single,
Unemployed, French)
Handmade things, postcards, Fazer
chocolate, reindeer meat, Christmas
decorations, clothes, jewelry
I dont like the things made by industrials for
souvenirs I want something quite unique. I
like to have the impression to still be in
Rovaniemi when I can eat things like
chocolate or jams.
Al-Batool
(Female, 28, Single,
Relationship Officer,
Kuwaiti)
Wooden mugs, forests wood base for
plates, wooden toys, bags with reindeer
print, Fazer chocolates, blueberry jam
and honey.
Unique. We dont have reindeer back home
or snow or wooden stuff so it was amazing
to see them in real and take souvenirs on
them Yes, it is very important to me that I
can use the souvenirs I bought from
Rovaniemi.
Mareike
(Female, 29, Single, Child
Care Worker, German)
Two little plushie polar bears, two little
snowman Lollis, and some local
sweets, two little cups with Santa, and
reindeer antler keychain.
I think the souvenirs are local, or that can be
related with Rovaniemi or Lapland overall.
If I had to choose just one of all the
souvenirs I bought, I would prefer the
reindeer antler, because that piece
reminds me mostly of my trip and for me
reindeers are one of the typical animals
and symbols for Lapland.
Rita
(Female, 31, Single, Travel
Specialist, New Zealander)
Postcards, Santa letters, wooden pens,
antlers, boots and a Suomi shirt.
I bought the souvenirs because of the
uniqueness of the items.
Silvia
(Female, 28, Single, English
Teacher, Spanish)
Candles, magnets, postcards. The souvenirs I bought will have a usable life
in Spain or at least, I can see every day.
Pei-Yun
(Female, 31, Single,
Research Assistant,
Taiwanese)
Sami pattern bell, dolls, post cards, logo
magnet, special stamps, key chains,
teaspoons, food.
I think unique and have local
characteristically are very important. I
bought things that can make me
remember where I get it immediately. It
means the souvenir must be unique and
have local characteristically.
Stephanie
(Female, 37, Married,
Communications Manager,
American)
Photos and video with Santa, magnets,
postcards.
I would say they were all affordable and
unique. It makes me appreciate the time I
spent in Rovaniemi.
Matt
(Male, 37, Married, Retail
Manager, British)
Reindeer skin, Christmas ornament,
fridge magnet, t-shirt, and incense.
Authentic. The souvenirs have stories
attached to them, the people we meet etc.
They are often the subject of conversation
because they are unusual and perhaps
something which cannot be found in the
UK. We have some in the living room but
also in the kitchen. We also bought some
Christmas ornaments for the tree which we
obviously only have on display in
December.
(Continued)
10 E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
Rovaniemi ranged from Christmas decorations to local food and clothes. This is high-
lighted by the responses of two participants. We bought clothing, Christmas tree decora-
tions and timber ornaments. To be more precise warm jackets a Finland hat a
small timber moose Christmas decoration …” (Rod) and
I did take a lot of berry jam home with me and chocolates from Karl Fazer and honey from the
little shops in Rovaniemi, which everyone including me loved at home. It tastes different than
anywhere else. I cant compare it with any other goodies. (Al-Batool)
The majority of respondents bought both totality souvenirs (logoed objects that rep-
resent visitorsfeelings about the destination) and life souvenirs (food products that
evoke nostalgic feelings), while some bought linking souvenirs, such as kitchenware. Inter-
pretive codes such as local food,clothes,jewellery,magnets,t-shirts,wooden
mugs,postcards,key holders,reindeer skin,knifeand Christmas decorations
are all indicative of the different types of souvenirs purchased by the respondents while
visiting Rovaniemi.
Table 3. Continued.
Interviewee Souvenirs purchased Assessment of the items
Patrick
(Male, 44, Married, Travel
Specialist, British)
Fridge magnets, reindeer crisps, reindeer
ornaments, local ceramic handicrafts,
tontuu, Fazer chocolates, bottle of
Koskenkorva
Fridge magnet was strongly branded as
Rovaniemi, crisps were novel, ornaments
and tontuu were cute gifts for children.
Ceramics were attractive gifts for family.
The chocolates and Koskenkorva were
highlights of something delicious and only
available there (unique) and a reminder of
the good parts of the visit. If I had much
more money to spend, I would have
bought authentic Sami souvenirs.
Peter
(Male, 53, Married,
Transport Driver, Dutch)
Mugs, two plaids of wool with reindeer
print, arctic circle t-shirt, reindeer meat,
reindeer items, and wooden items.
They are not cheap (looking) stuff you see
everywhere, useful and unique. In fact, it is
usability, for example, a mug or T-shirt.
Kerry
(Male, 37, Married, Teacher,
Australian)
Christmas items. Uniqueness and use of local product. I
bought 30-60 items. I prefer traditional
Christmas of Finland over others.
Rod
(Male, 48, Married, First Aid
Trainer, Australian)
Clothing, Christmas tree decorations and
timber ornaments.
I like the Finnish flag on the jackets and the
thick woollen hats. Winter clothes from
Europe are so much better than anything
from Australia. I do find usability of
souvenirs a good thing. I am not a fan of
lots of table ornaments. I do buy Christmas
tree decorations from everywhere I travel
so that each year at this time I am
reminded of all the wonderful adventures I
have done in my life.
Greig
(Male, 51, Defacto,
Technician, Australian)
Jewelry, clothing, post cards, coffee mug
with a Finland flag, salted liquorice and
Fazer chocolates.
Uniqueness and memories. Each one of us
bought a souvenir to remember our
fantastic holiday. These small items invoke
a memory of the holiday.
Kari
(Male, 60, Married,
Researcher, Finnish)
Selection of knives Rapalla is a very good quality product in the
fishing circle here where I live at the ocean
in South Africa.
Valentina
(Female, 34, Co-habitation,
Guide, Italian)
Christmas tree decorations, handmade
packet with reindeer stamps.
Uniqueness. They remind me that I visit this
town and that they came from Santas
town.
Helena
(Female, 49, Married,
Journalist, Croatian)
Jams, dried reindeer meat, key holders, a
Kuksa cup, a stick for grilling sausages. I
ordered a knife from a local artist too.
I like all of them. Kuksa is maybe the nicest of
all, quite expensive but I understand that it
takes time to make them from original
materials.
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 11
Many mentioned that their motivation for buying souvenirs was to have a tangible
reminder of their trip, both for daily use and as gifts for family, friends and oneself. In
response to the question, Did you buy the souvenir for yourself or others?Two partici-
pants responded that they purchased souvenirs for themselves, while the majority pur-
chased souvenirs for their family members, friends and themselves (16). In addition, the
respondents stated that souvenir shopping was interesting and special. For example,
one replied
Yes, we always buy souvenirs when we travel outside the UK. We always look around for things
for our home that remind us of our travels. We prefer to decorate our home with items from
our travels rather than mass-produced items available from shops in the UK. (Matt)
Although the ndings show that souvenir shopping is a habitual behaviour among the
respondents, the majority (12) stated that their choice of souvenir was only decided
while in Rovaniemi.
The souvenirs purchased at the destination enhanced respondentsmemorability of
the trip experience. For example, one respondent replied as follows: Absolutely. We
have our Christmas tree up now and it looks like one from the Santa Village. Makes me
miss our holiday(Kerry). Another responded, Yes, they remind me of the happy times
I spent in Rovaniemi and always bring a smile to my face plenty of wonderful memories
(Greig). The number of souvenirs purchased by the respondents ranged from 3 to 50. Table
3provides full details of the items purchased and an assessment of the items.
Central elements and revisit intention
Uniqueness
When describing the central elements of souvenirs that prolonged touristsmemorability
of their trip experiences and encouraged revisit intentions, the study participants often
used the same word: uniqueness. The findings show that respondents were not inter-
ested in buying unauthentic mass-produced souvenirs perceived as usual, ordinary and
mundane commodities, or what Peters (2011) calls banal souvenirs, just because of
their lower price (Thompson, Hannam, & Petrie, 2012). This is highlighted by the direct
quotes of two respondents.
I really get angry when I see the souvenirs that are made in China, and I dont buy such things. I
love them to be genuine, made from the countrys materials thats what makes them special
and unique. And I also make sure that they are not sold online so not everyone can have them
easily. (Al-Batool)
And
We prefer souvenirs that are unique and have some relation to the traditions or folklore of the
place; for instance, the typical logo of Zakopane in Poland is the axe so we bought things with
that image or representation. In Krakow, its the Dragon, so stuffed animals and key holders
were bought, for example. In Rovaniemi, everything is related to Santa Claus or the Village
or Finland. We didnt buy one single souvenir made outside Finland, like China for example,
though they are not very common. We always pay attention at the labels to verify if they
are Finnish or made outside Finland. (Euler)
Interpretive codes such as unique,genuine,handmade,totally Finnish,symbo-
lises the place,not mass-produced junk,real and genuineand made in Finland logo
12 E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
are all indicative of the significance of uniqueness that contributed to the respondents
memorability of their trip experiences. In the context of souvenir purchases, uniqueness
is associated with the beliefs, ideas and impressions held by individuals in relation to
the genuineness, authenticity, workmanship, aesthetics, utility, and cultural and historical
integrity of souvenir products and their attributes (Littrell et al., 1993).
These findings contradict some studies (Correia & Kozak, 2016; Kaell, 2012) and show
that the majority of the respondents were annoyed when souvenirs sold within a
country were produced outside the country. This is highlighted by Rod (male,
Australian):
I will never buy a souvenir not made in the country or region it is from. If the tag says Made
in China, for example, I will not buy it. I believe in putting money into the region and indus-
tries of that region; otherwise, there is no point going somewhere. Hence, I tend to buy tra-
ditional things from the region or country whenever possible. I have never bought a
souvenir online. The nearest I have done is to have something sent home to Australia
because it was too heavy to carry, but I bought and paid for it in the shop, not over the
computer. My online use for traveling is limited to tickets, accommodation and airfares.
Never souvenirs.
Moreover, the ndings also do not support studies that indicate the lack of authenticity as
an attraction when buying souvenirs (Paraskevaidis & Andriotis, 2015). On the contrary, the
ndings are aligned with studies that consider the uniqueness of a product, connected to
the destination, as an important factor when purchasing a souvenir (Fairhurst et al., 2007;
Swanson & Horridge, 2006). In addition, studies indicate that one of the most important
characteristics of souvenirs is authenticity, which is perceived by tourists as the difference
between a souvenir that is unique to a specic area and one that is mass-produced
(Grayson, 2002; Littrell et al., 1993). Revilla and Dodd (2003) suggest that local production,
traditional features and utility support the perception of authenticity. Moreover, tourists
may perceive souvenirs to be genuine based on their function and appearance. Asplet
and Cooper (2000), for example, found that tourists purchase Maori clothing with tra-
ditional motifs or labels of authenticity as souvenirs.
The findings also indicate that the purchased souvenirs may trigger the desire to return
to the destination in the near future, which is consistent with some other studies (Yoon
et al., 2010; Yuksel & Yuksel, 2007). In fact, the findings support existing studies indicating
that souvenirs concretise and preserve touristsmemories about a trip (Gordon, 1986), and
that these memories affect touristsdecisions of whether to revisit a tourist destination
(Chandralal & Valenzuela, 2013; Tsai, 2016). More specifically, the uniqueness of purchased
souvenirs prolonged respondentsRovaniemi trip experiences, and these memories
aroused their desire to revisit the destination in the near future.
This is highlighted by the responses of five respondents: Aurore (female, French):
I think the thing that makes a souvenir memorable is its uniqueness. It is something that I cant
find in my own country. I like to look at it and try to remember what we did in Rovaniemi and I
will go there still several times;
Kerry (Australian, male):
Uniqueness and use of local product. I bought 30-60 items. I prefer traditional Christmas of
Finland over others. Reminds me of Rovaniemi and Santa village. It was the most magical
holiday. Yes, yes, yes, my family really wants to visit again;
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 13
Pei-Yun (Taiwanese, female):
I think unique and have local characteristically are very important. I bought things that can
make me remember where I get it immediately. It means the souvenir must be unique and
have local characteristics. Of course, I put the dolls in my room, and it reminds me that I
will be back to Rovaniemi someday in the future;
Greig (Australian, male):
Uniqueness and memories. Each one of us bought a souvenir to remember our fantastic
holiday. These small items invoke a memory of the holiday. Yes, they remind me of the
happy times I spent in Rovaniemi and always brings a smile to my face plenty of wonderful
memories. Yes, I feel like visiting Rovaniemi again very much. My partner and I have made a
decision to return to Rovaniemi in January 2018. This time we might start off at Kakslautenen
and end up in Rovaniemi;
Rita (female, New Zealander):
I bought the souvenirs because of the uniqueness of the items. They remind me of the happy
times I spent in Rovaniemi. Always brings a smile to my face plenty of wonderful memories
that make me visit time and time again.
Usability and functionality
The majority of respondents mentioned that the usability and functionality of the souve-
nirs in their everyday lives contributed to their memorability of the trip experience. Inter-
pretive codes such as contributing in daily life,having a useable life,useful,should
be useful daily in my life,functionality,practical things,possibility to use it dailyand
functional and for daily useare all indicative of the significance of the usability and func-
tionality element of souvenirs that contributed to the memorability of the trip experience.
This element reflects the use-of-value of a commodity; that is, its properties satisfy human
needs. In other words, the use-of-value of a commodity refers to its intrinsic features that
make it useful to the consumer (Marx, 1976). These souvenirs, termed linking souvenirs,
also help visitors make sense of the place visited by linking it to something common in
their life back home, for example, functional household goods such as kitchenware
(Swanson & Timothy, 2012).
In this study, 16 respondents confirmed that souvenirs used as functional items in their
everyday lives prolonged the memories of their trip experiences. This was more obvious
with souvenirs such as clothes, kitchen items and food. For example, nine respondents
purchased food souvenirs during their trip, ranging from reindeer meat to Fazer chocolate
(Finnish product), which are tangible objects that act as symbolic reminders of an intan-
gible event or experience (Swanson & Timothy, 2012) and prolonged the memorability
of the trip experience in Rovaniemi. This is highlighted by the response of two respon-
dents: I usually buy some Fazer chocolate, reindeer meat, or such things to eat later at
home. I like to have the impression that I am still in Rovaniemi when I eat things like cho-
colate or jams(Aurore, French, female) and Yes, I bought ruisleipa and reindeer meat.
Always bring food from there, this year was the third time, and for sure it will not be
the last time(Helen, Brazilian, female). The findings support existing studies indicating
food souvenirs to be tangible reminders of touristsintangible travelling experiences
(Lin & Mao, 2015; Sthapit, 2017; Swanson & Timothy, 2012; Torabian & Arai, 2016).
14 E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
In addition, practical objects such as nail clippers that are brought home from a travel
destination act as meaningful reminders (Wilkins, 2011) and often acquire meaning in ret-
rospect (Collins-Kreiner & Zins, 2011). Such symbolic reminders, suffused with meaning
and consequences, trigger an imaginary return to memorable times and places
(Swanson & Timothy, 2012). This may also lead to a fading distinction between souvenirs
and regular objects with the passage of time (Collins-Kreiner & Zins, 2011). This is high-
lighted by the responses of five interviewees:
As I already said, I find it important that the souvenir should be useful in my daily life. I dont
buy many things just to have them. I prefer useful things because I am very worried about the
trash on the planet, and I do not think it will help if I buy something that I will keep for some
time and then throw it away. (Helen, Brazilian, female);
Uniqueness and functionality, I must say. Useful things like clothes. I rarely buy plastic mass-
produced junk. Things unique to the lifestyle of where I visit and something that will start a
conversation at home because it is unusual. I dont buy many ornaments. Clothes, mugs,
games, etc. are all useful and decorative. (Rod, Australian, male);
Another important thing is that the souvenirs should be useful in our daily lives T-shirts,
key holders, caps, etc. (Euler, Brazilian, male);
The souvenirs I bought will have a usable life in Spain or, at least, I can see every day. Wherever
I travel I try to take things that are useful, so usefulness is a very good description for what I
usually look for. (Silvia, Spanish, female);
They are not cheap (looking) stuff you see everywhere, useful and unique. In fact, it is
usability, for example, a mug or T-shirt (Matt, British, male);
We bought reindeer skin, fridge magnet, T-shirt, incense. We also bought some Christmas
ornaments for the tree, which we obviously only have on display in December. I personally
prefer art or home furnishings but do buy things like magnets for friends. We have some in
the living room but also in the kitchen. We prefer to decorate our home with items from
our travel rather than mass-produced items available from shops in the UK. They are often
the subject of conversation because they are unusual and perhaps something which
cannot be found in the UK. They remind us of the place we visit. (Peter, Dutch, male)
Moreover, in addition to contributing to the memorability of a trip experience, usability
and functionality subsequently encouraged travellersdesire to revisit the destination in
the near future. This is highlighted by the responses of three respondents:
I did take a lot of berry jam home with me and chocolates from Karl Fazer and honey every-
one including me loved it at home Food keeps my memory fresh and makes me dream of
those days and wanting to go back as soon as possible. (Al-Batool, Kuwaiti, female);
I always try to buy souvenirs, some local food stuffs and gifts for family and to share with
friends. The chocolates and Koskenkorva [Finnish vodka] were highlights of something deli-
cious and only available there and a reminder of the good parts of the visit. Yes, I will
return to Rovaniemi. (Patrick, British, male);
I bought souvenirs made of wool for my wife and mugs because we need some at home; I
liked the Arctic Circle T-shirts with a small print and I buy one on every trip. Yes, most of
the time when we use it, these things bring always good memories, and yes, I plan to visit
sometime. (Peter, Dutch, male)
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 15
Conclusion, managerial implications, limitations and future research
Conclusion
First, the study respondents mentioned that the souvenirs purchased in Rovaniemi
enhanced their memorability of the trip experience and the desire to return in the near
future. In fact, there was strong support amongst all respondents that a souvenir acts as
an aide memoire (Zauberman, Ratner, & Kim, 2009), and this further supports studies indi-
cating that souvenirs trigger memories of peoples vacations (Brennan & Savage, 2012;
Kong & Chang, 2016; Ramsay, 2009; Torabian & Arai, 2016; Trinh et al., 2014; Wilkins,
2011). Second, this study provides a comprehensive analysis of some of the central
elements of souvenirs that contribute to the memorability of touriststrip experiences
and revisit intention. In fact, this study represents a first attempt at this analysis using a
grounded theory approach. The findings are classified into two central elements: unique-
ness and usability and functionality.
Among the reasons for acquiring unique souvenirs is the desire to have mementos from
a travel experience that differ from familiar items at home and are clearly distinguishable
as different. This differenceis, therefore, based on something specific to the visited des-
tination (Trinh et al., 2014). Urry (2002) states that the experience of tourism is one of
opposition between the ordinaryand the extraordinary, between homeand
away. Objects can be thought of in much the same way, and uniqueness in this
context reflects the existence of extraordinary and serves as a reminder of an experience
that differs from the daily routine, which would otherwise remain intangible (Gordon,
1986).
On the other hand, the element of usability and functionality is represented through
use-of-value of souvenirs. The use-of-value of souvenirs represents a dual functionality
for tourists, as products used in daily life that further remind them of the tourism experi-
ence such as a souvenir cup purchased at a destination that is used at home for drinking
coffee (Thompson et al., 2012). The findings provide further support to existing studies
that identify uniqueness (Fairhurst et al., 2007; Li & Cai, 2008; Timothy, 2005; Throsby,
2003; Turner & Reisinger, 2001) and usability and functionality (Li & Cai, 2008; Lin &
Mao, 2015; Timothy, 2005) to be attributes of souvenir selection.
Third, respondents mentioned that their motivation for buying souvenirs (cultural arte-
facts) was to have tangible reminders of their trip, both for daily use and as gifts for family,
friends and oneself. These findings support some studies indicating the different motiv-
ations for purchasing souvenirs: gifts, memories and evidence (Wilkins, 2011) and func-
tional needs (Kong & Chang, 2016). They also support findings suggesting that when
tourists buy souvenirs, they are seeking items of authenticity, connections to a destination
and an item of utilitarian value (Kim et al., 2011). Moreover, the findings indicate that the
role of souvenirs extends beyond a tourists own personal memories; it also links to social
reminders/social prestige as part of gift-giving, particularly in Asian cultures (Kong &
Chang, 2012; Xu & McGehee, 2012). For example, Xu and McGehee (2012) observed
that in Asian cultures, purchasing gifts for friends and relatives is a norm that provides
an important purchasing motivation when tourists travel abroad.
Fourth, although recent studies indicate that some tourists on holiday purchase
genuine counterfeit productsdue to their lower prices (Correia & Kozak, 2016;Wu,
16 E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
Wall, & Pearce, 2014), the findings of this study showed a lack of support for buying cheap,
ordinary and mundane commodities and clearly suggest that tourists want meaningful
reminders, as opposed to ordinary items. In addition, during the interviews, respondents
mentioned buying a number of different souvenir items, from Christmas decorations to
local food specialties. The findings thus support studies indicating that souvenir shopping
will vary from person to person and from experience to experience; the souvenirs bought
will also vary, from the artistic to the gaudy, from the unique to the commonplace, from a
T-shirt to a tapestry or a shell to a snow scene (Wilkins, 2011). In addition, souvenirs take on
various forms, including symbolic (a shorthand representation of a destination or attrac-
tion), pictorial, inscriptive (with the name and/or image of a destination or attraction)
and ethnic (strong local flavours) (Kong & Chang, 2016).
Fifth, souvenir shopping was considered a habitual behaviour and an activity that was
planned before the trip. Tourists, who are away from their normal environment and poss-
ibly even in a very different environment, need something familiar; shopping may provide
a sense of comfort and homelike stability (Wu et al., 2014), or, in other words, the onto-
logical comfort of home(Quan & Wang, 2004). This finding reflects a recent study by
Sthapit and Björk (2017) indicating a similar behavioural pattern among international
tourist for most of the activities undertaken at home and at the destination (visiting
museum, skiing hiking, shopping and swimming) except fishing. This extends Burchs
(1969) spill-over theory, whereby people carry skills, routines and habits established in
their daily lives into travel experiences (Currie, 1997). The performance turn-approach
(Molz, 2012) that focuses on embodied and material practices illuminates the small and
habitual ways in which tourism is intertwined with everyday life. In other words, tourists
do not only carry with them the familiar objects that they pack in their luggage (including
their phones and laptops), as well as the unreflexively embodied habits that shape their
daily routines (Haldrup & Larsen, 2010), and also purchased souvenirs. Overall, tourists
use souvenirs as props as they participate in ordinary activities in atypical environments
(Lasusa, 2007).
One of the reasons for cultural consumption, in this case souvenir shopping, is related
to lifestyle (Wahlers & Etzel, 1985), leisure involvement (Brey & Lehto, 2007; Chang &
Gibson, 2011; Smith, Pitts, & Litvin, 2012; Sthapit & Björk, 2017) and leisure habit (Currie,
1997; Edensor, 2001; Sthapit & Björk, 2017). In fact, lifestyle preference or habitus (Lee,
Packer, & Scott, 2015) and leisure involvement and leisure habit (Sthapit & Björk, 2017)
are likely to influence activities at a tourism destination. For example, Wahlers and Etzel
(1985) demonstrated that vacation activity preferences are influenced by the perceived
level of lifestyle stimulation inherent in the tourists work, social life and leisure activities.
Sixth, the selection of purchased souvenirs was made on-site at the travel destination.
Two lines of reasoning corroborate this: vacation decisions are also made in situ (Martin &
Woodside, 2012), and visitors display a great deal of flexibility in planning and enacting
tourism behaviour (Woodside & Martin, 2008). This finding transcends conventional
approaches, which focus on decisions that take place before the actual travel experience
that are characterised, most importantly, as highly planned (Hyde & Decrop, 2011) and
fixed (Jeng & Fesenmaier, 2002). In addition, the respondentssouvenir shopping behav-
iour can be characterised as impulsive in terms of the selection of the product for pur-
chase, that is, they were overcome with a sudden, often powerful and persistent desire
to make an unintended, unreflective and immediate purchase after being exposed to
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 17
certain stimuli. The purchase is unintended because it is made when the individual is not
actively looking for that item, has no pre-shopping plans to purchase the item and is not
engaged in a shopping task such as looking for a gift, which the item satisfies (Rook &
Fisher, 1995).
Seventh, the findings support earlier studies that demonstrate tourists are dissatisfied
when they realise the souvenirs they bought in a tourist destination were imported and
produced in countries with cheap labour such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam (Kaell,
2012; Littrell et al., 1993; Ming, 2011). Eighth, although Swanson and Timothy (2012)
argue that souvenirs are not always connected to the tourism experience, for example,
they are also sold through the Internet and in antique shops, none of the respondents pre-
ferred buying souvenirs online.
Managerial implications
This study highlights the significance of unique, usable and functional souvenirs for the
memorability of a trip experience and subsequent revisit intention. The findings suggest
that destination management organisations and souvenir retail managers in similar con-
texts need to be aware of this aspect of souvenirs. This study advocates that souvenir
retail managers invest more resources in offering objects that represent the uniqueness
of the host country or region, which should include both local food products and
clothes that generate nostalgic feelings, and kitchenware, which represents usability
and functionality. In other words, the focus must be on promoting the purchase of souve-
nirs that represent the uniqueness and the functionality of the object for tourists to
enhance, evaluate and reflect upon their experiences. They should strive to provide sou-
venirs for commemorative uses (e.g. destination images) and practical uses (e.g. decora-
tive, drinking and eating). This can be achieved through a variety of measures. For
example, souvenir retail managers should sell food souvenirs representing local special-
ities that contain distinct favours and are produced from traditional ingredients. Even
when consumed in ordinary time and space, they may trigger memories of the travel
experience. Food souvenirs produced in Rovaniemi may best represent both uniqueness
and usability and functionality.
Given that the respondentssouvenir selections were made on-site in Rovaniemi, sou-
venir retail managers should expand the variety of handmade and hand-packaged local
products and also sell products made by well-known local craftspeople/artisans, repre-
senting the areas uniqueness. Studies indicate that quality craftsmanship is one of the
attributes that tourists seek in the crafts that they purchase (Littrell, 1990) and can be
closely linked to uniqueness. These souvenirs should thus portray local languages, tra-
ditional methods of production and the habits and customs of craftspeople to meet the
tourist appeal of handmade objects.
As none of the respondents preferred to buy souvenirs online and all purchased them
while in Rovaniemi, visitors should be offered limited edition pieces that are not sold over
the Internet. In addition, given that the respondents, regardless of age, gender and nation-
ality, showed little desire for cheap, ordinary and mundane commodities. These types of
souvenirs may not appeal to tourists and may not evoke memories of the trip experience.
Therefore, souvenir retail managers should not sell such items to visitors but rather focus
on the certification and labelling of souvenirs, for example, local food material; this may
18 E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
constitute one strategy for enhancing and promoting locally produced souvenirs in Rova-
niemi. Furthermore, they should also allow visitors to personally observe how local people
produce the souvenirs, for example, food specialties, as well as engage the participation of
local artisans. This may allow tourists to interpret the symbolic meaning attached to a
unique product and may offer a more valuable, unique, aesthetically pleasing and memor-
able souvenir shopping experience. Furthermore, a suggested slogan for the Rovaniemi
area such as Local and Usable Souvenirs from Finnish Laplandcould convey character-
istics that may strengthen and encourage souvenir shopping.
Limitations
The findings of the current study are highly destination-specific as the data were only col-
lected from visitors to Rovaniemi, and the selection of a single destination limits the find-
ingsapplicability to other destinations. Studying a large sample would increase the
generalisability of the findings. The present study collected data using semi-structured
interviews over Skype. Adopting a greater array of research methods might overcome
this research limitation. This may be operationalised through a range of research instru-
ments, including focus groups, surveys, in-depth interviews, observations and diaries
obtained from sampled individuals who record their souvenir shopping experiences
and MTE on-site.
Another limitation is that the interviews were conducted in the post-visit stage to assess
tourists memories of souvenir shopping experiences, while there was variation in terms of
when the study participants had visited Rovaniemi, ranging from six months to two years
ago. Studies indicate that remembered tourism experiences are significantly different from
the actual experiences that one has had. People will reconstruct their tourism experiences
by forgetting disappointment (Mitchell, Thompson, Peterson, & Cronk, 1997), integrating
information presented after the experience (Braun-LaTour et al., 2006) or reinterpreting
their memory to be consistent with their original expectations (Klaaren, Hodges, &
Wilson, 1994). Braun-LaTour et al.s(2006) study indicates post experience information,
that is, advertising and word-of-mouth, as a contributing factor to tourists memory distor-
tion. The information that individuals receive after their travel experience is found to
distort touristsmemory, with the level of distortion greater when the information is pre-
sented repeatedly. Therefore, in order to avoid this incongruence between remembered
experiences and on-site experiences, future studies should interview tourists immediately
after their visit and also make use of travel blogs (Bosangit et al., 2015) and online reviews
as information sources (Wu et al., 2014). The spontaneously generated content of social
media may be an emic source of information for exploring touristssouvenir shopping
experiences, thereby permitting the generation of a richer and deeper information base
(Wu et al., 2014). Moreover, the study participants were mainly Westerners; thus, future
studies would benefit from a cross-cultural emphasis.
Future research
Souvenir shopping has been associated with the creation of happiness in the tourism
experience (Nawijn, 2011). In addition, memories of holidays have been shown to contrib-
ute to individualssubjective well-being (Sthapit & Coudounaris, 2017) and to affect
SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM 19
different life domains such as family and social life (life satisfaction) (Sirgy, Kruger, Lee, &
Yu, 2011) over the long term (McCabe & Johnson, 2013). Thus, opening up discussion on
how pleasant memories of a travel experience spurred by souvenirs are related to tourists
subjective well-being updates the existing research agenda. In addition, future research
could examine whether souvenirs help to savour positive emotions of love, interest, joy
and contentment (Bryant, 2003) and whether they influence positive emotions on the
basis of trip memorability. The rationale is that positive emotional activation contributes
to creating memories (Tung & Ritchie, 2011). Such an approach encompasses positive psy-
chology concepts such as savouring (Bryant, 2003) when studying souvenirs and MTEs.
Negative emotions are less common in touristsrecollection of their holiday experi-
ences due to the rosy viewphenomenon (Mitchell et al., 1997). This phenomenon miti-
gates negative emotional responses and magnifies positive emotional responses in
peoples retrospective assessments of their emotional experiences (Lee & Kyle, 2012).
However, studies also indicate that tourist may often feel negative emotions during
their tourism experience (Kim et al., 2012). For example, Pine and Gilmores(1998) study
indicates that a poor service easily converts into an experience, creating a memorable
encounter of a negative kind. In addition, Kensingers(2007) study found that negative
emotions boosted not only the subjective vividness of a memory but also the likelihood
that event details are remembered. Therefore, future studies should incorporate both posi-
tive and negative memories of souvenir shopping experiences. Moreover, studies indicate
that souvenirs can evoke memories through the senses and act as channels for recalling
tourism experiences (Morgan & Pritchard, 2005). Thus, given the multisensory nature of
the tourism experience, and how aromas, perfumes, fragrances, tastes and sounds (par-
ticularly music) are intimately tied to memories (Dann & Jacobsen, 2002,2003; Lin &
Wang, 2012), future studies should explore the different senses activated by souvenirs
and the dominant senses that influence trip memorability.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Funding
This work was supported by Evald and Hilda Nissi Foundation.
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26 E. STHAPIT AND P. BJÖRK
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... However, little research has examined the post-holiday stage of family experiences, either with or without children (Beerli-Palacio and Martín-Santana, 2017). Moreover, there is a lack of work regarding the place of emotions in the recollection of experiences (Tung and Ritchie, 2011;Sthapit and Björk, 2017). This stage has been studied very little (Bagozzi et al., 1999), particularly in the luxury sector, where emotion forms an integral part of the purchasing process (Kim et al., 2016). ...
... In March 2019, a CoachOmnium study ii indicated that 80% of hotel guests search and choose their hotel via the Internet (75% go to online opinion/reservation sites, especially Booking.com and TripAdvisor), and 78% of them find these opinions more reliable and useful than the number of a stars a hotel has. On the basis of experiences related online (Tung and Ritchie, 2011;Sthapit and Björk, 2017) and of the emotional elements as remembered by consumers, the objective is to define the place of emotions in the post-consumption stage after a family's experience as tourists. At the intersection of the literature relating to the recollection of experiences and works concerning the role of emotions in a household consumption process, this study aims to explore the place of emotions in the memories of a family tourism experience at French luxury hotels. ...
... This research extends the work by Tung and Richie (2011) and Sthapit and Björk (2017) on memories of experiences. In addition, our study of emotional traces: highlights the centrality of emotions, more or less negative according to the hotel's grading, in consumer content, which forms a guiding thread of their post-purchase evaluations; identifies the emotions spontaneously evoked after a hotel stay, which can be assimilated to the recollections of experiences firmly anchored in memory and, therefore, a priori, the most salient; deepens reflections on the traces of memory that appear during the study of the postconsumer stage of a purchasing process (Bronner and de Hoog, 2018); ...
... Studies on souvenirs have mainly focused on either the demand or supply perspective. Themes and issues from demand side are tourist's buying behaviour (Altintzoglou et al., 2016;Anuar et al., 2017), travel motivations and souvenirs (Cave & Buda, 2018;Kong & Chang, 2016;Sthapit & Björk, 2019), meaning of souvenirs (Collins-Kreiner & Zins, 2011) tourists' perception of souvenirs and authenticity (Peters, 2011;Torabian & Arai, 2016). A few studies have also been done from the supply side of the souvenir trade on themes such as souvenir retailers' perception of authenticity (Swanson, 2004;Trinh et al., 2014), souvenir supplier's perception of authenticity (Soukhathammavong & Park, 2019), development of traditional souvenir craft industry (Bui and Jolliffe et al., 2013, pp. ...
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