The Socio-cultural Impacts Of Visiting Friends And Relatives On Hosts: A Samoan Study
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R. G. Taufatofua & S. Craig-Smith
This paper considers and compares the key impacts of the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traveller and the holiday tourist on the socio-cultural fabric of Pacific Island community’s. Research was undertaken in the islands of Samoa. A socio-cultural capital approach provided recognition of the dynamic natures of the communities considered. The VFR traveller is a particularly important yet largely under-estimated visitor segment in many Pacific islands where VFR travellers comprise a considerable percentage of visitors. Socio-cultural and economic impacts can be significant on host communities, particularly as the VFR traveller can slip beneath the cultural barrier separating the local resident from the tourist/traveller. The current research suggested that VFR travellers impact the socio-cultural fabric in similar ways to holiday tourists. However, host respondents accorded less concern to VFR traveller impacts than to holiday tourists. Impacts were largely considered positive, enhanced by the importance of this traveller segment through overseas remittances. Elements impacted varied in strength of impact by traveller type. For example, reciprocity was considered impacted more so by VFR travellers, changing the nature of reciprocity from an intrinsic value to extrinsic value based on monetary exchanges. This research glimpses how the socio-cultural fabric operates particular resilience mechanisms to protect its integrity from undesirable external influences, yet embraces the more favourable influences. The research identifies that holiday and VFR tourism in Samoa does impact the socio-cultural fabric in a myriad of ways, some positive and others negative. Keywords: socio-cultural resilience, social and cultural capital, visiting friends and relatives.
socio-cultural resilience, social and cultural capital, visiting friends and relatives