Exploring the role and nature of 'Visiting Friends and Relatives' tourism in Niue
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Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) tourism is a segment of tourism that suffers from neglect, an absence of true recognition and a lack of appreciation. In order to find out the validity of these concepts in regards to the situation of Niue, a case study was conducted based on primary research that encompassed a thorough collection of secondary and primary data through field research. This field research included surveys, and semi-structured and non-structured interviews. This was combined with an analysis of secondary data from statistics, literature, websites, magazines, brochures and the media. Participants of the survey were selected from VFR travellers in Niue. The interviewees who participated in the in-depth interviews were selected from a diverse range of sources such as accommodation and service providers, local residents, officials from government and tourism authorities, and VFR travellers from New Zealand. This method of data collection was intended to gather important information from different points of view, in order to achieve a broad overview of the issue. The aim of the study was to cover the gap in the academic literature about the nature and role of VFR tourism in Niue. Furthermore, it was intended to investigate the nature of economic contribution to sustainable economic development and the role of VFR travellers in the preservation of the fading culture in Niue. In the case of Niue, this study found that VFR tourism not only plays an important role in the survival of the culture and language, but also, because of the nature and continuity of motivational factors and the purpose of travel, it could contribute towards the sustainability of tourism in the long term. Furthermore, the non-measurable economic contribution, such as the skills and knowledge brought in by VFR to the livelihood of the population, is an important factor in the economic development of Niue.