Assorted spices from India, fossilized bird dropping and even an Australian didgeridoo. These are just a taste of the most memorable souvenirs received and bought by travelers from around the Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, according to the multi-part Holiday Inn Souvenir Study.
In the third and final installment, which polled 900 jetsetters from Australia, India, Japan, the Middle East, South Africa and Southeast Asia, respondents describe the trinkets, tokens and, in some cases, throwaways, they’ve received from friends and loved ones returning from abroad.
On a scale of love to hate and from wacky to wonderful, local keepsakes like Vietnamese coffee and African drums scored high on the ‘love it’ scale while educational or novelty items like sushi shaped USB flash drives scored a chuckle but not pride of place on a recipient’s mantelpiece.
Also revealing an interesting insight, the Souvenir Study shows souvenir preferences and wackiness/wonderment are not mutually exclusive, particularly since magnets of global landmarks – those cheap and cheerful items on every traveler’s souvenir list – though considered wonderful, are generally not thought that highly of.
On the bright side, people across the region are happy to receive food and art or antique pieces reflecting an authentic experience. Similarly, travelers who embrace the element of surprise are fans of wacky souvenirs, such as a sheep’s wool belly button warmer from New Zealand.
“Love them or hate them, wacky and wonderful souvenirs are simply memorable, proving that there are more ways than one to leave a lasting impression. From this research, we will look at how we can help our guests find the perfect and most memorable memento from their travels.” commented LeeLin Teo, Brand Marketing Director, IHG.