Research projects

Maximising the health and wellbeing benefits of visiting friends and relatives

The Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) Travel Research Network is leading a project examining the link between VFR travel and the health and wellbeing benefits for socio-economic disadvantaged people.


  • Assoc Prof Elisa Backer (Chief investigator)
  • Assoc Prof Jeremy Buultjens (Chief investigator)
  • Prof Brian Hay (Partner investigator)
  • Prof Alastair Morrison (Partner investigator)

Proposal summary

The prevention of disease and illness by promoting healthy lifestyles is the key to healthy communities and reduced health care costs. Tourism is identified as providing considerable health and wellbeing benefits, but some disadvantaged groups including those on low incomes, seniors, the disabled and Indigenous people are less likely to participate in tourism activities. Understanding and maximising the benefits for disadvantaged groups is important. The aim of this research is to identify the health and wellbeing outcomes from VFR for disadvantaged groups, the factors that will enhance their VFR experiences, and to identify practical policy interventions to maximise the benefits from this tourism segment

The VFR Travel Research Network has also engaged in a number of applied research projects for industry.Organisations interested in having research into VFR travel undertaken by the network should contact the nominated network leader (refer contact us section).