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VFR Travel: Is It Still Underestimated?
Given that VFR (Visiting friends and relatives) is such a huge
form of travel throughout the world, with so many facets of
relevance, it is remarkable that this special issue is only the
second special issue on the subject. The rst special issue
was over two decades ago and was guest edited by Joseph
O0Leary and one of these guest editors, Alastair M. Morrison.
Those guest editors highlighted the state of VFR in the title of
their paper that it was desperately seeking respect(Morrison
&OLeary, 1995). In fact, a clear theme that has run through
much of the VFR travel research is that it has been
underestimated and neglected. Of note, the rst VFR paper
(Jackson, 1990) asked the question about VFR in the title
is it underestimated?The question in the title was tting to
ask. Through the 1990s and the early turn of the century, that
original question resulted in further efforts from VFR re-
searchers to attempt to ensure the eld was better understood.
Just over two decades after Jacksons (1990) paper, Backer
(2012) set out to answer Jacksons (1990) with her paper en-
titled VFR travel: it is underestimated. These editors now
pose a further question through this special issue by asking
is it still underestimated?
VFR is not only a major form of travel throughout the
world, but is also the oldest form of travel (Backer, 2011).
However, as VFR researchers are well aware, the eld has
been neglected for a very long time. The sleeping giant
was only tapped on the shoulderin 1990 when Jackson
(1990) revealed to the academic community that VFR was
underestimated. Given the age and size of VFR travel, it does
seem extraordinary that it took so long for the rst scholarly
paper to be raised. Since that rst paper, some attention was
offered by a number of researchers and a special issue dedi-
cated to VFR travel was published in 1995. The period of the
1990s was one of VFR awakening, and a handful of re-
searchers made solid efforts to provide evidence on the im-
portance of VFR. Some of those original researchers from
the 1990s have contributed to this special issue (Alastair M.
Morrison, Brian King and Anthony Seaton). Thus, this spe-
cial issue offers contributions from some of the original
VFR researchers, as well as those who mark the new wave
of VFR researchers.
This special issue contains seven papers (excluding this
paper) across a range of themes. Namely, this special issue
focuses on the broadness of VFR travel and how it has rel-
evance to a range of other elds. The structure of this in-
troduction piece is to provide the reader with a basic
overview and summary of the featured papers. It then pro-
vides the reader with a discussion on citations. The nal
section of this paper is to offer the reader some insights
on where the eld of VFR travel has come and what is felt
is needed in the future. It is hoped that this special issue
provides the academic community with a sound apprecia-
tion of the diversity of VFR travel and the importance
within tourism studies.
These guest editors were extremely pleased with the level
of interest expressed in this special issue. When the an-
nouncement was made to invite researchers to contribute,
there were dozens of emails from interested people. Not
all the themes could be incorporated into this issue, and
not all papers were passed by the independent reviewers.
Reviewing was undertaken completely separately from
these guest editors. Whilst it is always hard to decline pa-
pers, it is certainly a positive indicator when the level of
interest far exceeds the number of papers that can tinto
an issue.
This special issue contains contributions from 11 authors
(including these editors), with a range of diverse and unique
themes. As stated by Seaton (2017), it may be time for
researchers to branch out into more innovative and
experimental methodologies that go behind the performance
gures(p. 456). Themes in this issue include the relation-
ship of VFR with respect to the following: hosting of VFRs
(Yousuf & Backer, 2017), migration (Provenzano & Baggio,
2017), disaster recovery (Backer & Ritchie, 2017), VFR
traveller gaze (Huang, King, & Suntikul, 2017), family life
cycle (FLC; Backer & Lynch, 2017), cultural tourism
(Seaton, 2017) and travel mobilities (Rogerson, 2017).
Further, countries and regions with which the papers in this
issue focus are as follows: South Africa, China, Australia
and the European Union. Two papers (Backer & Ritchie,
2017; Seaton, 2017) do not have a focus on any particular
geographic region, instead focusing on examples throughout
the world.
Assessing VFR travel globally, Backer and Ritchie
(2017) consider whether VFR travel might be a viable
market to assist communities rebuild after tourism crises
and disaster recoveries. The paper is unique in that it as-
sesses what research has been done to consider whether
VFR might be appropriate to rebuild communities through
examining both the tourism literature as well as the medi-
cal literature. Interestingly, there is great focus on VFR
travel in the medical literature, and Backer and Ritchies
(2017) paper is the rst to bridge the disciplines of medi-
cine and tourism together in an examination of VFR travel.
In considering the suitability through a market segmenta-
tion lens, they determine that domestic VFR travel is a
suitable market for destination recovery, but not interna-
tional VFR.
Also considering VFR travel from outside of the tourism
lens, Seaton (2017) provides a delightful narrative on the
volume of cultural literature (including novels, plays, poems
and lms) that feature VFR. As Seaton (2017) states,
relationships between family, relatives and friends, and
visits to or by them, are mainstays of human life for all
except the chronically unfortunate, isolated or disaffected
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Tourism Research,Int. J. Tourism Res.,19: 395399 (2017)
Published online in Wiley Online Library ( DOI: 10.1002/jtr.2145
(p.455). Classical novels highlight the relationship between
VFR and class since receiving visits among relatives and
friends was an essential ritual of polite society(p. 459)
and accordingly Jane Austens novels are all VFR texts
(p. 459). Seaton (2017) also captures the less attractive side
of being a VFR, beautifully displayed by Figure 3 in his
article that depicts observing wildlife in the bedroom
(p. 458) at the hosts home.
The concept of hosting VFRs features in Yousuf and
Backers (2017) paper entitled hosting friends versus
hosting relatives: is blood thicker than water?Indeed,
the perspective of hosts of VFR travellers has not received
as much research attention as it deserves given the central
role that hosts have in VFR travel. The paper by Yousuf
and Backer (2017) attempts to improve some of that
imbalance through reporting on the in-depth interviews
undertaken with 34 hosts of VFRs. The authors also
contribute to the eld through offering a denition of hosts
and providing a denitional model of hosts showcasing the
three different types of VFR hosts. The model can be used
as a tool to disaggregate and understand VFR hosting data
and importantly was tested in their study. The differences
in hosting friends versus hosting relatives are explored,
and the authors highlight that there are very different
experiences, stresses and joys that come from hosting
friends versus relatives. Differences were also explored in
terms of the perspectives of migrant hosts versus non-
immigrant hosts.
The perspective of the VFRs is the focus of the paper
by Huang et al. (2017) who discuss that the different
connections that VFRs have with their homeland will
impact on how those VFRs gaze as tourists. Using Urrys
(1990) tourist gazeas a conceptual framework, the
authors examine the perceptions of China as a destination
to visit, by second-generation Chinese-American migrants.
The qualitative study examines the responses from 26
participants nding that respondents to their study were
of a hybrid nature whereby visiting their homeland
involved seeking and nding both the exotic and the
familiar(p. 431).
The correlation between human migration and VFR
travel is the focus of the paper by Provenzano and Baggio
(2017). Migration stocks and tourism ows are compared
by the authors between the 28 countries belonging to the
European Union. The analysis by the authors is over a
12-year period spanning from 2000 to 2012. Based on
use of complex network analysis and gravity models,
Provenzano and Baggio (2017) nd that tourism ows
may be affected by the stock of immigrants. As a result
of the analysis, the authors conclude that the higher the
stock of immigrants in a county, the higher the ow of in-
coming tourists(p. 418).
Those spatial patterns of VFRs between countries was
also realized as a research gap by Rogerson (2017) whose
paper concentrates on examining the migration ows of
VFRs by focusing on South Africa. Understanding these
migration ows in South Africa is an important contribution
to scholarship and industry; especially since VFR travel is a
dominant form of tourism in the poorest regions. In some
regions, VFR is the only type of touristic activity, thus
highlighting the importance in better understanding the eld.
Rogerson (2017) notes the importance of the eld to policy,
particularly since VFR travel involves socio-economically
disadvantaged individuals who otherwise cannot engage in
other forms of travel. Thus, VFR offers an important aspect
of a naturally occurring form of social tourism that has
important policy implications.
In terms of families, the level of VFR activity across
different stages of the FLC is examined by Backer and
Lynch (2017). The study examines the differences between
VFRs and non-VFRs in their FLC composition. As a quan-
titative study, the authors examine a sample size of
102 029, and it is the rst study to consider tourist behav-
iour across different ages in terms of a VFR context. It is
also the rst study that has used a large national dataset to
examine in what ways life cycle stages affect the proclivity
to travel. Key differences were found between VFRs and
non-VFRs across life cycle stages. Notably, non-VFRs rep-
resent a signicantly higher proportion of families com-
pared with VFRs.
As mentioned earlier in this paper, these editors are posing a
question through this issue is VFR travel still
underestimated? According to Yousuf and Backer (2015),
there has been an underwhelming volume of VFR papers.
In their content analysis, which including conference papers,
book chapters and theses, a total of 129 VFR outputs were
calculated. Over a 25-year period, such a volume of outputs
is disappointing.
Another measure of interest in a eld is citations.
Backer and King (2015) considered citations and found
that only two VFR papers had more than 100 citations.
The highest number of citations was for Seaton and
Palmers (1997) paper, which was reported to have re-
ceived 140 citations. As those citations had accumulated
over a period of time that spanned almost two decades,
the volume was not impressive. Backer and King (2015)
had employed a method of using Google Scholar to locate
VFR papers and reported the citations of those papers that
were tourism papers and located in the rst four pages of
Google Scholar. VFR papers from medical journals were
not included. Using the same papers that Backer and King
(2015) had reported on, these editors have revisited the ci-
tations to ascertain whether there has been a recent surge
of interest in VFR.
As demonstrated in Table 1, there are still only two papers
that have earned more than 100 citations. However, the
proportionate increases in citations for all VFR papers since
Backer and Kings (2015) analysis reveal considerable
interest in the two-and-a-half year period spanning between
the dates of the analyses. There are nine papers that have
had increases of more than 100%, and two papers have had
increases that exceed 200%. This suggests that there has been
a belated growth of interest in VFR travel.
396 Editorial
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res.,19: 395399 (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/jtr
Table 1. A comparison of citations of VFR travel publications.
Author Year Article Journal
Jackson, Richard (1990) VFR Tourism:
Is it underestimated?
Journal of
Tourism Studies
94 163 73.4
Paci, Enzo (1994) The major
VFR markets
Travel &
Tourism Analyst
45 70 55.6
Carl Nadkarni,
(1995) The importance
of the VFR market
to the hotel industry
Journal of
Tourism Studies
53 85 60.4
McKercher, Bob (1995) An examination
of host involvement
in VFR travel
conference proceedings
10 21 110
Meis, Scott,
Joyal, Sophie
Trites, Anne
(1995) The US repeat
and VFR visitor
to Canada: Come
again, eh!
Journal of
Tourism Studies
50 82 64
Morrison, Alastair,
Hsieh, Sheauhsing
O0Leary, Joseph
(1995) Segmenting the
visiting friends and
relatives market by
holiday activity participation
Journal of
Tourism Studies
60 96 60
Yuan, Tsao-Fang,
Frigden, Joseph,
Hsieh, Sheauhsing,
0Leary, Joseph
(1995) Visiting Friends
and Relatives Travel
Market: The Dutch Case
Journal of
Tourism Studies
51 80 56.9
McKercher, Bob (1996) Host involvement
in VFR Travel
Annals of
Tourism Studies
14 40 185.7
Seaton, Anthony
Palmer, Christine
(1997) Understanding VFR
tourism behaviour: the
rst ve years of the
United Kingdom
tourism survey
140 199 42.1
Morrison, Alastair
Woods, Barbara
Pearce, Philip
Gianna Sung,
(2000) Marketing to the
visiting friends and
relatives segment:
An international analysis
Journal of
Vacation Marketing
23 38 65.2
Gianna, Pearce,
Philip, Morrison,
Alastair, Green,
David, O0Leary,
(2000) Developing a
typology for understanding
visiting friends and
relatives markets
Journal of
Travel Research
102 166 62.7
Lehto, Xinran
Morrison, Alastair
O0Leary, Joseph
(2001) Does the visiting
friends and relatives
typology make a
difference? A study
of the international
VFR market to the
United States
Journal of
Travel Research
55 97 76.3
Hu, Bo Morrison,
(2002) Tripography: Can
destination use
patterns enhance
understanding of
the VFR market?
Journal of
Vacation Marketing
40 68 70
(2003) Understanding the
domestic VFR drive
market in Florida
Journal of
Vacation Marketing
28 52 85.7
Lee, Gyehee,
Morrison, Alastair,
Lehto, Xinran
You, Webb,
Jonathan Reid,
(2005) VFR: Is it really
marginal? A nancial
consideration of French
overseas travellers
Journal of
Vacation Marketing
26 54 107.7
Editorial 397
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res.,19: 395399 (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/jtr
As previously mentioned, these editors posed a question
through this issue is VFR travel still underestimated? In
considering the ndings in the papers within this issue and
the level of interest from researchers across the globe to be
part of this issue, it is felt that there is denitely a shift in
interest. In addition, when the citations are examined, there
has been a notable increase in interest in the past 2 years.
Whilst citations are still low, particularly given that the eld
of VFR comprises such a large proportion of visitors (e.g.
Backer, 2012, found it represented 48%), the trend may have
started to give VFR travel the respect it deserves.
This issue contains seven unique and distinct papers that
show broadness in topics, countries and methods. Such
diversity also shows a maturing of the eld of VFR travel
in that it has been able to move beyond the stage of demon-
strating the size and value of the segment. The eld has also
been able to mature to be more than dening it and needing
to understand the proles and characteristics of the VFR
travellers. The papers in this issue have shown the depth
and diversity of the VFR research. It has important
dimensions with migration, tourism ows, spatial patterns,
destination recovery, travel for socio-economically disadvan-
taged individuals, FLCs, hosts as residents, the tourist gaze
and the texts we read and watch.
The annual migrationof people from major cities in
China at the Lunar New Year numbers in the hundreds of
millions, and it is almost all VFR-motivated. Although this
catches international media attention, mostly showing
overcrowded railway stations and trains, there is never a
mention of the VFR travel motivation that causes the mass
urban exodus (and return journey). The editors suggest that
this is more proof of the lack of sufcient status being
afforded to VFR travel, with Chinese scholars tending to es-
chew these travellers in favour of more high-proletourists
who are assumed to have more economic impact.
In 1995, the rst VFR special issue stated that VFR travel
is desperately seeking respect. These editors feel that whilst,
more than two decades later, it is still seeking more respect, it
has certainly gained much respect over those decades. And
whilst still underestimated to some degree, industry and
academe have learned much particularly in the last decade.
As such, VFR travel is better understood and has started to
be seen more often as a marketing campaign in industry. It
is hoped that within the not too distant future, VFR may even
be a chapter in core tourism textbooks and nd itself of earn-
ing a place in the teaching of tourism in higher education.
Backer E. 2007. VFR Travel An Examination of the Expenditures
of VFR Travellers and Their Hosts. Current Issues in Tourism
10(4): 366377.
Backer E. 2008. VFR Travellers Visiting the Destination or
Visiting the Hosts ? Asian Journal of Tourism and Hospitality
Research 2(April): 6070.
Backer E. 2010a. Opportunities for Commercial Accommodation in
VFR. International Journal of Tourism Research 12(4):
Backer, E. (2010b). VFR travel: An Assessment of VFR versus
Non-VFR Travellers (PhD Thesis). Southern Cross University.
Backer E. 2011. VFR travellers of the future. In Tourism and
Demography, Yeoman I, Hsu C, Smith K, Watson S (eds).
Goodfellow Publishers: Oxford; 7484.
Backer E. 2012. VFR Travel: It Is Underestimated. Tourism
Management 33(1): 7479.
Backer E, King B. 2015. Local impacts, global perspectives: The fu-
ture of VFR travel. In VFR Travel Research: International
Table 1. (Continued)
Author Year Article Journal
Pearce, Philip
Moscardo, Gianna
(2006) Domestic and
visiting friends
and relatives tourism
Tourism Business
Frontiers (book)
9 23 155.6
Backer, Elisa (2007) VFR travel: An
examination of the
expenditures of
VFR travellers
and their hosts
Current Issues
in Tourism
32 87 171.9
Backer, Elisa (2008) VFR travellers
Visiting the destination
or visiting the hosts
Asian Journal
of Tourism and
Hospitality Research
20 49 145
Backer, Elisa (2010b) VFR travel: An
assessment of
VFR versus non-
VFR travellers
PhD thesis (SCU) 7 24 242.9
Backer, Elisa (2010a) Opportunities for
in VFR travel
International Journal
of Tourism Research
14 41 192.9
Backer, Elisa (2012) VFR Travel: it
is underestimated
Tourism Management 28 93 232.1
Source: Adapted from Backer and King (2015).
398 Editorial
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res.,19: 395399 (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/jtr
Perspectives, Backer E, King B (eds). Channel View Publica-
tions: Bristol, UK; 207218.
Backer E, Lynch D. 2017. Understanding the Proclivity of Visiting
Friends and Relatives (VFR) Travel Across Family Life Cycle
Stages in Australia. International Journal of Tourism Research
19(4): 447454.
Backer E, Ritchie B. 2017. VFR Travel: A Viable Market for Tour-
ism Crisis and Disaster Recovery? International Journal of
Tourism Research 19(4): 400411.
Braunlich C, Nadkarni N. 1995. The Importance of the VFR Market
to the Hotel Industry. The Journal of Tourism Studies 6(1):
Hu B, Morrison A. 2002. Tripography: Can Destination Use
Patterns Enhance Understanding of the VFR Market? Journal
of Vacation Marketing 8(3): 201220.
Huang W-J, King B, Suntikul W. 2017. VFR Tourism and the
Tourist Gaze: Overseas Migrant Perceptions of Home. Interna-
tional Journal of Tourism Research 19(4): 421434.
Jackson R. 1990. VFR Tourism: Is It Underestimated? The Journal
of Tourism Studies 1(2): 1017.
Lee G, Morrison AM, Lehto X, Webb J, Reid J. 2005. VFR: Is It
Really Marginal? A Financial Consideration of French Overseas
Travellers. Journal of Vacation Marketing 11(4): 340356.
Lehto XY, Morrison a M, OLeary JT. 2001. Does the Visiting
Friends and RelativesTypology Make a Difference? A Study
of the International VFR Market to the United States. Journal
of Travel Research 40(2): 201212.
McKercher B. 1995. An examination of host involvement in VFR
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McKercher B. 1996. Host involvement in VFR travel. Annals of
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Meis S, Joyal S, Trites A. 1995. The U.S. Repeat and VFR Visitor
to Canada: Come Again Eh! The Journal of Tourism Studies
6(1): 2737.
Morrison A, OLeary J. 1995. The VFR Market: Desperately Seek-
ing Respect. The Journal of Tourism Studies 6(1): 15.
Morrison A, Hsieh S, OLeary J. 1995. Segmenting the Visiting
Friends and Relatives Market by Holiday Activity Participation.
The Journal of Tourism Studies 6(1): 4863.
Morrison A, Woods B, Pearce P, Moscardo G, Sung H. 2000. Mar-
keting to the Visiting Friends and Relatives Segment: An Inter-
national Analysis. Journal of Vacation Marketing 6(2):
Moscardo G, Pearce P, Morrison a, Green D, OLeary JT. 2000.
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and Relatives Markets. Journal of Travel Research 38(3):
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Pearce P, Moscardo G. 2006. Domestic and visiting friends and
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Oxford, UK; 4855.
Pennington-Gray L. 2003. Understanding the Domestic VFR Drive
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Migration to Tourism: The VFR Travel between the EU28
Member States. International Journal of Tourism Research
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Rogerson CM. 2017. Unpacking Directions and Spatial Patterns of
VFR Travel Mobilities in the Global South: Insights from South
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Seaton A. 2017. Qualitative Approaches to the Phenomenology of
VFR Travel: The Use of Literary and Cultural Texts as
Resources. International Journal of Tourism Research 19(4):
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Tourism and Management Federation Business School
(Ballarat) Federation University, Australia
School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue
University, Indiana, USA
Editorial 399
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Tourism Res.,19: 395399 (2017)
DOI: 10.1002/jtr
... The geographical dispersion of migrants' social networks is a driver of 'visiting friends and relatives' (VFR) travel, which is an important and rapidly growing segment of international tourism (CAA, 2009;Janta et al., 2015;Larsen et al., 2007), although its importance is often underestimated and neglected (Backer, 2012;Backer & Morrison, 2017). According to official figures, VFR accounted for 26% of all air travel abroad by UK residents in 2019, up from 21% in 2009 (own elaboration based on DfT, 2020). ...
... Bischoff and Koenig-Lewis, 2007;Griffin & Guttentag, 2020;Lehto et al., 2001). While the field of VFR research has matured and diversified over time (Backer & Morrison, 2017), the question of the environmental impact of VFR has remained relatively unexplored. In this paper, our focus is primarily on the environmental consequences of air travel and so in the remainder of this section we discuss implications for sustainable transport policy and research. ...
While there is a saturation of car mileage per head in developed countries, international air travel has grown rapidly until 2020, making it crucial to better understand its drivers. An often-overlooked factor here is migration. Previous research suggests that individuals with migration background and/or from ethnic minorities tend to have more environmentally sustainable everyday travel patterns, due to lower car use. Yet there is evidence suggesting that their air travel-related emissions are higher than average, possibly due to visits to the home country and the trips required to maintain spatially distant social ties. However, migration background and social network attributes are typically not included in quantitative studies of air travel. In this paper, we analyse data from the 2011–2013 UKHLS survey, which provides information on annual car mileage and frequency of air travel for private purposes, allowing us to derive rough estimates of greenhouse gas emissions. We estimate regression models for these outcomes, including migration background, ethnicity, and social network predictors. We find that: i) first-generation migration background is associated with lower car mileage, but higher levels of air travel; ii) this effect is less pronounced or absent for less recently-arrived migrants and second- and third-generation migrants; iii) spatially dispersed social networks are positively associated with both air and car travel; iv) the association between migration background and air travel is partly accounted for by social network dispersion. We conclude by discussing implications for future research and air travel demand management policies.
... VFR travel has been found to account for between 12% and 23% of all tourism receipts (Dutt et al., 2015). However, Backer and Morrison (2017) argued that VFR travel has not gained the respect it deserves, as related investigations are scarce in tourism and hospitality settings. Earlier, Jackson (2003) deemed this form of travel a "sleeping giant" in the tourism industry. ...
... Any tourism industry that had existed previously had collapsed due to the Aceh Civil war between the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM or the Free Aceh Movement) and the Indonesian government. This deadly conflict retarded development in the province and simply frightened tourists away [2]. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami proved to be a turning point in several ways. ...
Full-text available
The rapid development of the tsunami tourism attraction combined by the Islamic tourism of Aceh has contributed to the advancement of local people economy including the victims who live surrounding the attraction sites. However, researches on tourists of tsunami-affected area and its dimension are still scanty. This study is imperative because tsunami tourism offers uniqueness and risks for the tourists. Having understanding the perception of tourists, the quality and attractiveness of tsunami tourism can be optimized. Thus, this study aimed to investigate potential determinants of tourist loyalty to tsunami-affected tourism destination. There are 3 potential determinants tested in this study, namely tsunami attraction image, perceived value, and tourist satisfaction. The purpose of this study is to define the determinant variables (competitive tsunami attraction image, perceived value, and tourist satisfaction) of tourist loyalty to tsunami-affected tourism destination using an SEM approach. A proposed research model in which six direct and four mediations hypothesis was developed and tested. Empirical data collected at major tsunami tourism destinations in Banda Aceh. Data gathered through questioners and interviews with tourists who are visiting Banda Aceh especially the visitors of Museum Tsunami, “Kapal di atas Rumah” (boat on the house) and “Kapal Apung”. A total of 328 questionnaires were returned and data were analyzed using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). The mediation hypothesis was tested by using Bootstrapping with AMOS] and Mediation Test proposed by Barron and Kenny. Results supported the proposed loyalty model: (1) Competitive Tsunami Tourist Attractions has a positive direct influence on Perceived Value, Tourist Satisfaction and Tourist Loyalty to Tsunami Tourism Destination. (2) Perceived Value and Satisfaction Tourists also have a direct influence on Tourist Loyalty to Tsunami Tourism Destination. (3) From 4 mediation hypotheses proposed only 3 of them were supported. This implies that to increase the tourist loyalty to tsunami-affected tourism destination, the government need to focus on increasing the competitiveness of Tsunami Tourist Attractions. This can be done through the improvement of the tourism objects and the supporting business environment (awareness, amenities, accessibility, accommodation, attractiveness).
... In 2017, a special issue of International Journal of Tourism Research on VFR travel was published. Edited by Eliza Backer and Morrison (2017), the issue contains seven papers highlighting the crucial place of VFR in migration (Provenzano & Baggio, 2017); disaster recovery (Backer & Ritchie, 2017); family life cycle (Backer & Lynch, 2017); travel mobilities (Rogerson, 2017). The overarching conclusion of the authors was that, considering the historical record, worldwide volume, and social impact, VFR is a sleeping giant that has only been tapped on the shoulder in 1990s. ...
Travel is considered a self-initiated intervention to increase happiness; and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) is one form of travel encompassing a quarter of the world's travel market. This study explores the intersections between VFR and emotional experiences in the travel context. Specifically, it examines the effects of pre-existing family dynamics on the emotional experiences of emerging adults traveling to visit families during the fall break. The results show a significant impact of family dynamics on emotions during VFR, with positive emotions following a linear decline during the travel period, and negative emotions following a pattern consistent with the Holiday Happiness Curve. This study not only presents a detailed examination of interactions between family dynamic variables (e.g. communication, flexibility) and positive and negative emotions during VFR, but also leads the way in linking two largely important yet understudied areas within travel research.
... Considering the gastronomic implication in domestic life, Getz and Robinson [36] postulate a simple correlation-the higher the degree of involvement, the higher the level of desire to travel in search of gastronomic experiences, a fact that opens the door to consider new segments in tourist markets considered homogeneous to date, such as friends and family visitors [37]. ...
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Tourist destinations increasingly sustain their consolidation, promotion, and development from gastronomy. This research aims to contribute to the scientific literature analyzing the relationship between tourism and gastronomy for the specific case of the Costa del Sol (Spain) from tourists’ experiences of different nationalities who have visited the area. The methodology has been based on questionnaires applied to foreign travellers, after the gastronomic tasting of lunch or dinner in typical beach restaurants, called “chiringuitos”. Results show the existence of different segments of tourists based on their attitude towards local cuisine. Three groups have been identified, with different gastronomic predispositions and knowledge, and it is concluded that there are different levels of satisfaction and motivations in tourists, as they are identified in one segment or the other.
Within urban tourism VFR travel is a leading segment. The aim is to contribute to the limited scholarship on VFR travel and African urban tourism. The focus is on student-centred VFR travel in South Africa where there has been a considerable expansion, radical restructuring and change in the structure of tertiary education since democratic change in 1994. The case study is of student-centred VFR travel in Johannesburg, South Africa’s leading city tourism destination with findings analysed from research conducted with students at the University of Johannesburg. The study is the first to be undertaken in a context of the global South and a specific setting in which financial adversity is a defining characteristic of the student body as a whole. Although certain findings were revealed that are similar to those from research based in the global North certain striking differences were recorded. The most significant was the much lower volumes of student VFR travel than has been recorded elsewhere. The majority of students did not receive any VFR travellers in the previous academic year. The results from student-centred VFR travel at University of Johannesburg point to the major influence of the low incomes of households and of students which limit the nature of activities and of VFR expenditures.
Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel is a substantial segment of tourism globally. In many countries, VFR travel represents a large proportion of visitor movement. The size of the segment is often underestimated because official data only reveal VFR by purpose of visit or VFR by accommodation, contributing to the underestimation of the size of VFR travel. Similarly, there is a lack of research that considers the role of the VFR host in VFR travel which results in a lack of understanding. Clearly, the role of the host is critical in VFR travel and it is what centrally defines VFR. This study contributes to the research in VFR travel through providing research related to hosting VFRs. Of note, this study was undertaken in Turkey, which makes a significant contribution to scholarship given the lack of research that has been undertaken outside of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, which are the areas in which VFR travel research has dominated. This study determined the profiles and characteristics of 423 VFR travellers to Nevsehir, Turkey, and their hosts. Accordingly, this study provides a significant contribution to the scholarship of tourism by providing rich data on an area of tourism (hosting VFRs) that had to date, been overlooked.
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Uluslararası turizm hareketliliği ve etkisi her geçen gün büyümekte ve bununla birlikte turizm en önemli sektörler arasında yer almaktadır. Böylece turizm hareketliliğinden faydalanmak isteyen birçok ülke tercih edilebilir bir destinasyon olmaya çalışmaktadır. Bu durum uluslararası seyahate katılan insanların daha iyi tanınmasını ve çözümlenmesini beraberinde getirmektedir. Ayrıca destinasyon seçiminde etkili olan faktörlerin ne olduğu ve bu etkilerin sonuçları iyi çözümlenmelidir. Bu çalışmanın amacı yurtdışını ziyaret eden Türk vatandaşlarının profilini belirlemektir. Bu amaçla TUİK’ten elde edilen veriler derlenerek Yurtdışını ziyaret eden vatandaşların profili geniş kapsamda belirlenmeye çalışılmıştır. Çalışmada, 2012-2018 yılları arasında, yurtdışını ziyaret eden vatandaş sayısının arttığı, kişi başı harcama ve geceleme sayısının azaldığı, gidiş nedenine ve geceleme süresine göre ülkelerin farklılık gösterdiği gibi sonuçlara ulaşılmıştır. Ayrıca çalışmada eğitim, gelir, ziyaret dönemi, harcama ve konaklama türü gibi değişkenler çözümlenmeye çalışılmıştır.
This study is the first to investigate intercultural behavioural patterns of long-stay tourists in a culturally unfamiliar leisure holiday destination. Information was collected on-site from forty-four tourists from Europe, the U.S and Australia visiting an internationally popular beach destination in Thailand. A novel approach to data collection involved one-to-one interviews triangulated with a set of dyadic interviews to better understand shared travel experiences. Onsite travel behaviour reflected neighbourhood activities rather than tourist behaviour. Four distinct levels of intercultural adaptation strategies were categorised, ranging from staying in a home comfort zone to adopting the destination as a second home. Classic transaction based marketing strategies for long-stay tourists are inadequate and more attention is needed on destination hospitableness and relationship building.
The importance of outbound markets to a host country has increased scholars' interest in understanding motivational factors. Motivation is a basic determinant of tourists' behaviour and has a fundamental role in tourism. The awareness of motivational differences among tourists from main generating markets is a prerequisite for effective and successful destination marketing programs. However, cross-cultural motivation comparisons of tourists from different cultural backgrounds has received relatively little research attention. In addition, there has not been a content analysis undertaken on this topic. Therefore, the aim of this research was to examine and synthesise previous studies on cross-cultural tourist motivation comparison, reveal the gaps in the literature and indicate the future research trends. A review of 71 publications covering a period of 30 years, from 1988 to 2017, was conducted. This study focuses on both subject areas and research methods used. The findings of this content analysis identified a recent growth in cross-cultural comparison studies. The analysis also revealed an increase in more advanced analysis including multiple variables such as motivations, satisfaction, segmentation of visitors, intention behaviours, and information search behaviour. The analysis of nationalities compared in the reviewed studies indicated the shift of research interest towards Asian countries. In the case of research methods, quantitative design is more common for cross-cultural motivation studies.
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U.S. repeat visitors represent a lucrative international market for Canada's tourism industry. Surprisingly, until recently, this important segment of U.S. visitors has not been specifically targeted by the Canadian tourism industry and has been largely ignored and untouched by Canadian national tourism marketing strategies and campaigns. The main purpose of the study was to determine how past experience visiting a Canadian destination affects U.S. travellers' perceptions of Canada, their trip planning and buyer behaviour, as well as their future travel plans to Canada. The results show that U.S. repeat visitors to Canada represent a distinct segment of the U.S. travel market that require specific product and communication needs. In addition, the cumulative revenue from repeat visitors across their travel life cycle and the importance of the VFR traveller are underscored.
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VFR travelers have personal connections with their homeland, which influence how they gaze upon its people, cultures and landscapes. This study examines the perceptions of children of immigrants towards visiting their ethnic homeland. The tourist gaze provides a theoretical framework to analyze their experiences when navigating dichotomies between home-and-away and between the self-and-others during their travels. Findings revealed that rather than gazing at the exotic “other,” they are seeking out similarities which allow for a greater connectedness with family and heritage. They also explained problems and issues that they encountered, as a consequence of feeling obliged to defend their homeland.
This study explores the correlation between human migration and that part of tourism due to people visiting friends and relatives (VFR) in a foreign country. We first compared the network structure of migration stocks and tourism flows between the 28 member countries of the European Union over the period 2000-2012. Then, we performed several econometric analyses to study the main tourism determinants and the correlations between migration to tourism. The paper derives from the discussion of the results an estimate of the contribution to the overall tourism phenomenon due to VFR. Complex-network analysis and gravity models were the investigation methods preferred.
A paradox about visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel is that, although a marginalized category by tourism planners and academics until recently, it has always been, as a domain of behaviour, more central to human experience than leisure tourism. Relationships between relatives and friends have, at all places and times, been forged and sustained by reciprocal visits, a reality borne out by reflection, and one that has been documented widely in cultural texts. This paper explores what these texts tell us about the subjective meaning and significance of VFR travel that is not necessarily disclosed by the quantitative, problem-centred approaches used in managerial research. The first part examines a sample of, mainly, literary texts from the past and present and identifies some of the diverse scenes and scenarios within them. The paper then moves from the texts to offer a theoretical framework for understanding the phenomenology of VFR travel, derived from the sociological insights of Georg Simmel into social gatherings and informal associations. This qualitative framework, it is proposed, augments the quantitative methodologies that currently dominate VFR research, as a way of exploring the existential features of VFR behaviour. Copyright
Unpacking the spatial patterns of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) mobilities within (and between) countries represents an investigatory void in existing international VFR scholarship. The paper seeks to interrogate the relationships between historical and contemporary migration flows and VFR travel by using the case of South Africa. The study highlights the importance of understanding the role of multi-locational households, the roots and persistence of circulatory migration flows and their manifestations in the present-day geography of VFR travel mobilities in post-apartheid South Africa. Interpreting the changing spatial patterns of VFR travel must be grounded in the historical and contemporary dynamics of local and regional migration systems. For South Africa's poorest areas where VFR travel flows are the dominant if sometimes the only form of tourism, policy issues arise for leveraging this form of tourism for enhancing local development. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Little research has been undertaken to examine VFR travel from the perspective of hosts. Additionally, little research has explored the differences between VFs and VRs; treating VFR as one homogenous group. This research examined the hosts’ perspective of hosting friends versus relatives through in-depth interviews with 34 local residents in three contrasting destinations in Australia. Key differences were found between the experiences of hosting friends versus relatives, with immigration a key aspect in impacting the outcome. This is the first study to examine hosting friends versus relatives and to consider how immigration and destination impacts VFR travel experiences for hosts.
The Family Life Cycle (FLC) model is frequently used for understanding travel patterns and consumer behaviour. The aim of this research was to consider the relationship between FLC stages and travel engagement in Australia. Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFRs) and non-VFRs (n = 102 029) were found to be significantly different in their FLC composition. In addition, the prevalence of FLC stages changed between the groups, with families comprising 27.5% of domestic VFRs yet comprising 37.9% of domestic non-VFRs. This study has provided a valuable assessment of the relationship between FLC stages and domestic travel in Australia and is the first paper to integrate two common approaches used in tourism for market segmentation.