Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Host-guest interactions: First-generation Filipino immigrants in New Zealand and their visiting friends and relatives (VFR) from the Philippines

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posted on 2021-11-14, 11:32 authored by Capistrano, Robert Charles Garcia

This thesis examines social interactions between Filipino immigrant-hosts residing in New Zealand and their visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) from the Philippines as guests. The growth of migration and immigrant communities globally has become a major source of tourists resulting from developing and extending relationships and kinship in the receiving country of the immigrant-hosts. Despite advances in VFR travel research, most studies focus on the VFR travellers and generally neglect the significance of the host as a factor in the overall travel experience. There is a need to examine host-guest relationships in the context of VFR travel research as travel and tourism have by and large neglected issues of sociality and how it is concerned with social relations. Similarly, there is an element of “othering” comprised in the host-guest relationship when the social interaction is a meeting of strangers. However, this study explores social interactions where the actors take on host and guest roles that are layered upon other elements of their pre-existing relationships. This research recognises that while the hosts and guests may share a similar cultural background, the social interactions under study take place in a different cultural setting.  The overall question that guides this research is: “How are social interactions between immigrant-hosts and their VFRs understood and interpreted by them?” Currently, there is a lack of conceptual and theoretical understanding of VFR travel and the host-guest phenomenon, as well as of the meanings and interpretations resulting from their social interactions. The underpinning paradigm for this thesis is hermeneutic phenomenology, which seeks to understand the truths derived from the experiences. This paradigm guides the study to derive an understanding of the social interactions and the meanings that immigrant-hosts and their guests attach to situations. A holistic approach was utilised to examine the social interactions of the immigrant-host and VFR relationship incorporating social exchange theory and the theory of emotional solidarity which will enable consideration of the various dimensions of social interaction.  Individual and family/group interviews were conducted after the visit in order to provide a comprehensive approach and capture the range of interactions that occur between hosts and guests. The immigrant-host families and VFRs were interviewed after the post-visit phase in New Zealand and the Philippines, respectively. This study therefore incorporates multiple perspectives in studying VFR travel across time and space. Through thematic analysis and qualitative metasynthesis, the meanings provided by the hosts and guests to situations which occurred during the visit are analysed in order to give a voice to these groups.  The social interactions between immigrant-hosts and VFRs are dynamic, multidimensional and multi-faceted when examined from the multiple perspectives of the hosts and guests. The findings indicate that friendship and kinship appear to be special relationships to which people attach great importance, both personally and culturally, as friends and relatives provide a sense of identity and reaffirm social ties. This thesis contributes to current knowledge in interpreting the meanings of friendship and kinship in a cultural context and how it relates to VFR travel which may have an implication for both tourism and migration and on understanding the social interactions of immigrant-hosts living in their new homeland and their families and friends who visit them.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Tourism Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Weaver, Adam; Pearce, Douglas