Toronto Metropolitan University
Munoz, J., Griffin, T., & Humbracht, M. (2017). Towards a new definition of “visiting friends and relatives”. International Journal of Tourism Research, 19(5), 477-485. .pdf (1.04 MB)

Towards a new definition of “visiting friends and relatives”

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posted on 2024-02-27, 21:34 authored by Julio MunozJulio Munoz, Tom GriffinTom Griffin, Michael HumbrachtMichael Humbracht

“Visiting friends and relatives” (VFR) is a tourism term used in academic and practitioner vernacular that refers to a substantial amount of activity and is yet commonly disregarded. This paper builds on previous literature that has demonstrated how a lack of understanding of what VFR encompasses facilitates the phenomenon to be undervalued and misunderstood. Without a clear conceptual definition, VFR continues to be presented with inconsistent and conflicting parameters, which creates discursive confusion rather than clarity and appreciation. This is important as tourism is often presented as a positive force for economic development in a wide range of communities, and VFR is almost routinely overlooked with high‐yield (hotel consuming) markets favoured; this is despite a growing body of literature that has explored the sustainability and positive community impacts of VFR activity and potential. A review of existing definitional work on VFR is provided, and a new conceptual definition is offered. Mobility influenced by a host is first distinguished from other forms of human movement; VFR is then positioned as a form of mobility influenced by a host that includes face‐to‐face interaction between a host and visitor who have a pre-existing relationship. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. 




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