Visiting friends and relatives travel matters for sub-Saharan Africa

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Abstract: Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) is one of the most neglected topics in international tourism scholarship. In terms of sub-Saharan Africa despite acknowledgement of major flows of VFR travellers it is shown that there has been undertaken only a handful of research which is explicitly directed at VFR travel mobilities. The objective in this article is to argue that VFR travel ‘matters’ for African tourism scholars and its neglect should be rectified by a wave of new research studies focused around VFR travel in the continent. Two sections of material are presented. The first section provides an overview of key international scholarship and debates about VFR travel. The second section shows the limited existing African scholarship concerning VFR travel. Overall, it is concluded that the academic neglect of VFR travellers in sub-Saharan Africa should be addressed by an expanded research agenda, the findings of which can have potential relevance for African policy makers.