Brand identity and brand image of tourism destinations in Lao PDR

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Sisouvong, Valaphone
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Master of Business
Unitec Institute of Technology
Nel, Pieter
Newlands, Ken
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
brand identity
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Sisouvong, V. (2018). Brand identity and brand image of tourism destinations in Lao PDR. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Business, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Main research question: How is the brand image of Lao tourism destinations perceived by tourist different from the ideal brand identity projected by the government? Sub-research questions: 1. What brand identity of Lao tourism destinations does the government want to promote? 2. How do tourists perceive the promoted brand identity? 3. Does the brand image align with the brand identity of Lao tourism destinations? 4. What is it about the brand image of Lao tourism destinations that attracts tourists to visit Lao PDR? Ever since tourism was listed in the priority sectors for the development of Lao PDR, the country has been trying to promote its tourism destinations in order to attract more tourists to visit Laos. The government has been building on its brand “Simply beautiful” that represents the charming nature, and the unique culture of Lao PDR. The country’s destination branding has been implemented with the aim to create a brand image of Lao tourism destinations as authenticity, friendliness, harmony, relaxation, and peacefulness. Thus, it is necessary to measure the effectiveness of its destination branding in order to achieve such desired brand image. The purpose of this research is to examine the brand identity and brand image of tourism destinations in Lao PDR. The research first aims to identify the brand identity that the government is trying to promote, and then look at tourist perceptions toward the promoted brand identity. This is to find out if the brand image is aligned with the brand identity and see if there is a gap between them. In addition, the research intends to discover specific characteristics of the tourism destinations that attract tourists to visit Laos. In order to achieve the aim of the research, semi-structured interview as a qualitative research method and questionnaire survey as a quantitative research method are applied in this research. A representative of Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism was interviewed and 200 tourists participated in the questionnaire survey. Also, to achieve one of the research objectives, a hypothesis has been tested and verified using different analysing techniques. Based on the findings, the research has found different attributes of tourism destinations, promoted by the government, that make up six facets of the brand identity of Lao tourism destinations. The majority of those attributes under the six facets are highly perceived by tourists. However, because a few attributes are less perceived among tourists, the brand image perceived by tourists is not completely aligned with the brand identity promoted by the government, which results in the gap between the brand identity and brand image. In conclusion, this research provides information for the government to have a better understanding about its brand identity and brand image in order to manage its destination branding more effectively.
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