VFR traveller demographics: The social tourism dimension

Elisa Backer, Brian Edward Melville King

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The global phenomenon of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel is substantial, including in developed countries. In profiling its dimensions, researchers have examined various VFR characteristics including length of stay, origins and travel mode, though no thorough exploration has been undertaken of VFR demographics. Surprisingly this is the first large-scale study to examine VFR demographics and to consider all destination-related VFR data, not only those that are confined to purpose of visit. The researchers drew upon official Australian domestic travel data (n = 81,579) to undertake a profile of the respective demographics of VFRs and non-VFRs. This assessment revealed that many people who would be classified as socio-economically disadvantaged engage in VFR travel. Previous literature has documented the lower participation of socio-economically disadvantaged groups in tourism and this article shows that they participate actively as VFRs. It is concluded that stimulating VFR travel provision may provide a mechanism for extending leisure experiences to those excluded from other forms of tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-204
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Vacation Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • demographics
  • quality of life
  • social tourism
  • socio-economic disadvantage
  • VFR travel
  • visiting friends and relatives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'VFR traveller demographics: The social tourism dimension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this