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