Robert Charles G. Capistrano
This paper examines the methodological and ethical considerations and implications of conducting studies on ‘visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel in the context of host-guest interactions using a qualitative approach. When reviewing the VFR travel literature, experiences are only often captured within the world-view of the tourist or traveller. Studies of VFR travellers generally neglect the significance of the host in the travel experience. However, VFR travel is multi-faceted and dynamic, mainly resulting from host- guest interactions. Therefore, capturing the potential range of meanings attached to various aspects of host-guest interactions would provide a holistic approach. In contrast to quantitative studies which are relatively static and cannot convey much about human experiences resulting from the host-guest social interaction, this study integrates VFR travel and host-guest interactions through qualitative methods. Dealing with pairs of hosts and guests at the micro-level has certain methodological and ethical implications which are discussed since these participants have personal knowledge about their relationship.
Keywords: VFR travel, host-guest interaction, qualitative research, methodology, research ethics