Home again, home again? Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) tourism-culture, place and movement

Corinna Chin, Catherine Kelly

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This is a piece of early-stage postgraduate research on Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) tourism. It aims to explore the potential economic and cultural value of this form of tourism, to critique its internal and external influences, and to understand emigrant/diasporic tourist behaviour and experiences, especially in relation to cultural tourism activities and motivations. Cultural heritage and movement (both spatial and temporal) provide the contextual backdrop for analytical exploration. Preliminary literature discusses VFR, (a World Travel Organization classification of tourism) cultural and heritage tourism; migration, diaspora and identity; and tourism motivation theory. Much has been written about cultural-heritage tourism and about VFR tourism but little in terms of their interrelationship. This study will analyze the processes through which VFR and related cultural-heritage tourism takes place and examine the activities, experiences and deeper meanings associated with it. The proposed methodology will utilise both quantitative and qualitative strategies. A tri-partite approach will be undertaken: focus groups, questionnaires and in-depth individual interviews with both European (Irish) and Non-European (Chinese) migrants resident in London who undertake VFR tourism. Questionnaires and interviews will explore ?internal? factors such as: gender, length of migration, travel behaviour (spend, time, accommodation used, activities, attractions) and ?external? factors such as; marketing, exposure to media/ internet, and family influences. Additional narratives will be constructed on issues relating to cultural connectivity, tourism as a form of family legacy, and ?home?. Collectively the proposed methodology will assess tourist patterns/behaviours and motives across two different cultural groups and also analyse tourism operator perspectives on this market. Formative feedback on this presentation will be very beneficial to the research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
EventRoyal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20125 Jul 2012


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

[1] This paper was presented during Session 5, entitled The Geographies of Leisure? (2), on Wednesday, 04 July, 2012.


  • geographies of leisure
  • tourism
  • visting friends and relatives
  • emigrant tourism
  • diaspora


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