Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Doctoral Research Abstract

Although any type of travel has the potential to be therapeutic, retreat centres have been specifically developed to provide time, space, and activities for self-reflection, personal growth, identity-building, and the development of psychological well-being. Retreat tourism is a fast-growing sector of the luxury travel market aimed at higher spending visitors markets. However, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions, people are less willing and able to physically visit retreat centres. In addition to COVID-related restrictions, the hectic pace of modern lifestyles and time poverty present additional barriers to engaging in on-site retreat holidays.

The pandemic has afforded retreat centres a unique opportunity to re-design their practices and make them more accessible and affordable through digital platforms. Online and virtual retreats had been emerging in the tourism market even before the advent of COVID-19 but this shift has been accelerated by the pandemic. However, research has yet to deeply examine how virtual retreats influence psychological well-being. Given the increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, investigating how virtual retreats may foster psychological well-being is an important area of enquiry for both researchers and practitioners. Accordingly, my thesis project seeks to provide a theoretical understanding of the mechanisms through which virtual retreat facilitators can help individuals achieve and maintain psychological well-being.

Education

2016-2018: Master of Arts, Tourism marketing. University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
2010-2014: Bachelor of Arts, Tourism Management. Semnan University, Semnan, Iran.

Scholarships & Awards

University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (2019)

Primary Research Interests

Tourist Experience, happiness and well-being
The psychological well-being benefits of on-site and online wellness programs, specifically, holistic wellness retreats.

Teaching Experience

Teaching assistance (guest lecturing, tutoring and grading)

  • Introduction to tourism (TOUR101), 2020, Business School, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Introduction to wine business (TOUR214), 2020, Business School, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Global Tourism (TOUR102), 2021, Business School, University of Otago, New Zealand.
  • Tourist Behaviour (TOUR 217), 2020, Business School, University of Otago, New Zealand

Publications

Books and book chapters

  • Rahmani, Z. & Carr, A. (forthcoming). Holistic Tourism: a pathway towards eudaimonic well-being. In S. K. Walia (Ed.), Millennials, Spirituality and Tourism. Routledge.
  • Rahmani, Z. & Carr, A. (forthcoming). Holistic Tourism. In D. Buhalis (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Tourism Management and Marketing. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.
  • Talaei Shokri, S. & Rahmani, Z. (2018). Statistical Annals of the Tourism Industry in the Islamic Republic of Iran (a Persian reference book-2nd edition). Tehran: Hikmat Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies & Iranian Tourism Scientific Association.
  • Rahmani, Z. –As a member of the compilation team- (2018). 100 Hotels-100 Business (a reference book). Tehran: The Tourism Holding of Social Security Organization.
  • Talaei Shokri, S. & Rahmani, Z. (2017). Statistical Specification of the Tourism Industry in the Islamic Republic of Iran (a Persian reference book). Tehran: Hikmat Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies & Iranian Tourism Scientific Association.
  • Rahmani, Z.—Editor (2015). Health Tourism in a Comprehensive Approach (by Shalbafian, A.). Tehran: Mahkameh.

Academic (Journal & Conference) Papers:

  • Hasangholi pour, T., Seyyed Amiri, N., & Rahmani, Z. (2019). Providing a Framework for Identifying and Commercializing Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Wellness Tourism Industry. Quarterly Journal of Tourism & Development (Extracted from my MA thesis– in Persian –Based on the Grounded Theory’s Emerging Approach).
  • Mohamad-Alizadeh, A, & Rahmani, Z. (2018). Enlightening Tourism; an Approach to Achieve Spirituality in Tourism (In Persian). Third International Conference of Tourism and Spirituality (Jan, 20). Tehran.
  • Nejad Mohamad, E & Rahmani, Z. (2016). The Role Of Website In Medical Tourism E-Marketing: Case Of Marcopolo Health Tourism Company’s Website. 4th Global and First National Conference on Iran & World Researches in Management, Economics, Accounting, and Humanities.

Industry Experience

Research assistant

2015-2019: Iranian Islamic Parliament (Islamic Consultative Assembly), Research Centre: Cultural Studies Department