Contestation and negotiation of heritage conservation in Luang Prabang, Laos

Wantanee Suntikul, Timothy Joseph Jachna

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on the findings of a study into the interactions between entrepreneurs and heritage regulators in the conservation of historic buildings in the UNESCO listed town centre of Luang Prabang, Laos. Based on interviews and surveys conducted with property owners and business owners in this heritage zone, and with a representative of the town's heritage regulation authority, the research investigates the relation between enterprises, the heritage environment they occupy, and the Heritage House - the heritage regulation body that determines the way in which they may use and adapt their buildings. Issues include perceived benefits and constraints brought by preservation policies and practices, as well as changes in property usage and decline of traditional ways of life as spinoff effects of UNESCO listing, which threaten the town's intangible heritage. Entrepreneurs and regulators each perceive the other stakeholder group as a source of constraints and challenges. The paper proposes that understanding heritage in terms of collaborative, rather than adversarial, processes, could contribute to more socially sustainable conservation practice, and makes recommendations for institutional and organizational changes that could support such a culture of negotiation and collaboration in heritage conservation in Luang Prabang.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Collaboration
  • Conservation policy
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Heritage
  • Luang Prabang

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management

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