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Doctoral Research Abstract


Topic: Stay at home, stay well: How virtual retreats foster psychological well-being

Traditionally, tourism is understood as a form of escapism. Today, however, tourists are increasingly seeking vacations that facilitate their self-discovery and personal growth. Even though tourism, in general, can contribute to various aspects of well-being, holistic wellness retreats have been specifically developed to provide time, space, and activities for self-reflection, personal growth, identity-building, and the development of psychological well-being. However, retreat tourism is mostly a luxury travel market aimed at higher spending visitors. The hectic pace of modern lifestyles and time poverty present additional barriers to engaging in on-site retreat holidays. Therefore, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, retreat leaders started to re-design their practices and make them more accessible and affordable through digital platforms. Despite the growing trend of retreating online, research has yet to empirically examine how virtual retreats may foster psychological well-being. Recognizing this gap in the literature, the present exploratory qualitative research investigates the psychological well-being benefits of virtual retreats from the perspectives of both virtual retreat participants and providers.

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