Tourist marketplaces in Southeast Asia: key profiles in the experience economy

Mohtar, Tini M. (2015) Tourist marketplaces in Southeast Asia: key profiles in the experience economy. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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This thesis explores the views of the key stakeholders, tourists and vendors, towards tourist marketplaces. In this research, tourist marketplaces in Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia are the key sites for examining facets of the experience economy, sustainability, authenticity and the future. The growth of Southeast Asian tourism and cultural tourism form the context for this thesis research. To date, the Southeast Asian tourist marketplaces are understudied. Ultimately, this research will help to clarify tourists' and other stakeholders' views towards the future of these settings. Most of these marketplaces have been in existence for many years, and concerns about sustainability and the future of tourism marketplaces will be assessed. The central aims of the study were to understand how tourists and vendors view tourist marketplaces; most directly their present characteristics in terms of authenticity and experiences offered and their sustainability when looking towards the future.

The first study, which was concerned with understanding the language stakeholders employ to describe marketplaces, was conducted using Repertory Grid analysis devised originally by George Kelly (Stringer, 1974). The glossary of phrases constructed from this three country study identified a suite of relevant terms and then, by synthesising the frequency of occurrence of the common expressions and sorting them into categories, the work provided a holistic assessment of South East Asian tourist marketplaces. It was found that key terms to be used in describing tourist marketplaces were atmosphere, location, sensory qualities, spatial layout and product types.

The second stage of the research was conducted using a questionnaire based survey. The six page questionnaire for the tourists consisted of a section for travel motivation, shopping interest and behaviours, and analyses of views on authenticity, experience, sustainability and the future of the tourism marketplace. The work was conducted in Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia at six marketplaces. The questionnaire was designed by operationalising the main concepts of experience from Pine and Gilmore (1999) and Schmitt (1999). Additionally, the authenticity concept was assessed by employing questions about long usage, genuineness, pristine character, sincerity, creativity and the flow of life (Cohen, 2012). The implementation of a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework to define the attributes of sustainability was used to ask social, economic and environmental questions (Elkington, 1998). The fundamental approach involved segmenting the sample with an a priori categorisation of respondents according to the level of importance they gave to shopping. The views discussed in this chapter represented a large sample of tourist marketplace visitors drawn from the different kinds of markets in the three countries. Strong and positive relationships were found between the higher interest in shopping groups and perceived authenticity, positive scores for experience domains and concerns about sustainability.

In the next study vendors were asked questions identifying their type of trade, their reasons for doing business at the location, the length of time they had been operating the business and their reasons for selling at the marketplace. The study also considered their views on authenticity, their impression about the tourist experience, sustainability and the future. The key approach in this chapter was the assessment of the vendors as optimists or pessimists. Their attitudes towards authenticity, experience and the sustainability issues at the tourist marketplace were then considered. Optimists provided higher scores for perceived authenticity, the experience domains and concerns about sustainability.

An overview of the results used factorial analysis of variance tests and indicated much broad agreement amongst these two pivotal stakeholder groups on the themes of experience, authenticity and sustainability of these Southeast Asian tourist attractions. A contribution of the research was to study a range of markets in more than one country and construct a key dictionary terms of tourist marketplaces. Importantly, the present thesis was also to able establish effective and efficient operationalisation of authenticity, experience, sustainability and future concepts at these marketplaces. By using the constructs of level of shopping involvement for the tourists and optimism-pessimism for the vendors, differences and similarities across countries were compared effectively and shown to be relatively minor. The positive views of marketplaces in this thesis support their continued existence. Tourist marketplaces are arguably more than a historical relic but have a viable future for Southeast Asian visitors, the vendors who work there and the communities at these destinations.

Item ID: 45928
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Cambodia; constructs; economy; emic approach; glossary; Malaysia; marketplaces; markets; repertory grid; shopping; Southeast Asia; Thailand; tourism; tourist markets; tourist; vendors
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Pearce, Philip, and Mohtar, Tini (2014) Building a glossary for constructing tourist marketplaces in South East Asia. In: Proceedings of the 24th Annual Council for Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Education Conference, pp. 474-485. From: CAUTHE 2014: 24th Annual Council for Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Education Conference, 10-13 February 2014, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 01:09
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1506 Tourism > 150606 Tourist Behaviour and Visitor Experience @ 100%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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