Aspects of Spirituality in Eco-Lodges’ Landscape in Iran (from the Perspective of Tourists)

Document Type: Original Article


1 PhD Candidate in Tourism Management, University of Science and Culture

2 University of Tehran

3 Faculty Member of Management and Accounting, Allameh Tabatabaei University

4 Tourism Department, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran



It is truly undeniable that tourism is a system leading to epistemology and resulting in spiritual growth and excellence. The mission of the journey lies in its spiritual achievements and eco-lodges provide the potential context for mutual interconnections and gaining meaning and excellence. Therefore, lacking emphasis on spiritual potentials of eco-lodges in the accommodation sector is the main concern of this research. The present study aims to identify the factors influencing the landscape development of eco-lodges from the viewpoint of tourists to explain and analyze the realization of the spiritual landscape of eco-lodges via the perception of the eco-lodges’ landscape. The main concern of this qualitative research is seeking what a tourist sees, what he understands, how the type of accommodation would lead him from objectivity to subjectivity and ultimately, how the perception of the spiritual landscape from tourist’s view is. Answering research questions through the qualitative method with an interpretive approach and inductive strategy has been conducted by a semi-structured interview tool. Besides, the research data is gathered via two phases of coding the general concepts and classification of concepts based on the frequency. Lastly, the findings have been analyzed and interpreted through a conceptual framework. Based on research results, staying in eco-lodge causes leading resident tourist from objectivity to subjectivity and this is derived from perception of spiritual landscape. The components of the eco-lodges’ landscape adapting with three  parameters of spirituality in tourism, lead tourists to the perception of the spiritual landscape as well as the realization of the mutual understanding of nature and man in the journey and the achievement of the meaning and spirit through accommodation in eco-lodges.


Allerton, Catherine (2009). “Introduction: Spiritual Landscape of Southeast Asia”. Anthropological forum, 19(3), 235-251.

Belhassen, Y., Caton, K. and Stewart, W. (2008). “The Search for Authenticity in the Pilgrim Experience”. Annals of Tourism Research, 35, 668–689

Bigne, J. E. and Andreu, L. (2004). “Emotions in Segmentation: An Empirical Study”. Annals of Tourism Res., 31(3), 682-696.

Brown, M. (1998). The Spiritual Tourist. London: Bloomsbury.

Deming, M. E., & Swaffield, S. (2011). Landscape Architecture Research, Inquiry, Strategy, Design. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

European Communities (2003). A Manual for Evaluating the Quality Performance of Tourist Destinations and Services. Enterprise DG Publication, 2003

Feizi, Mohsen and Asadpour, Ali (2013). “Landscape Regeneration Process of Tehran Urban Squares Based on Increasing Citizens Social Interactions”. Journal of Urban Studies, 7.

Francis, L., Williams, E., Annis, J., & Robbins, M. (2008). “Understanding cathedral visitors: Psychological type and individual differences in experiences and appreciation”. Tourism Analysis, 13, 71–80.

Graburn, N. (2001). “Secular ritual: A general theory of tourism”. In V. Smith & M. Brent (Eds.). Hosts and guests revisited: Tourism issues of the 21st century (pp. 42–50). New York: Cognizant Communication Corporation.

Haq, F., & Jackson, J. (2006). The recognition of the marketing of spiritual tourism as a significant new area in leisure travel. Unpublished paper presented at the tourism: The spiritual dimension conference. UK: University of Lincoln.

Heelas, P., & Woodhead, L. (2005). The spiritual revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing

Hill, P. C., Pargament, K. I., Hood, R. W., McCullough, J. M. E., Swyers, J. P., Larson, D. B., & Zinnbauer, B. J. (2000). “Conceptualizing Religion and Spirituality: Points of Commonality, Points of Departure”. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 30(1), 51-77

Imani Khoshkhoo (2016). “The Introduction Section”. The proceeding of first international conference on Tourism and Spirituality, pp. 11.

Jacob, N. (2003). Intercultural Management. Kogan Page Publishers, ISBN: 0749435828, 2003

Kim Lian Chan, J. (2010). “Assessing Key Satisfiers and Sustainable Ecolodge Experience Management through Profile Accumulation Techniques”. World Applied Sciences Journal, 10, 78-90, ISSN: 1818-4952.

Kouzechian Hashem, Khatibzadeh, Mahdi, & Honarvar, Afshar (2012). “The role of sport tourism service quality dimensions in sport tourists’ satisfaction”. Research Journal of Contemporary Studies on Sport Management, Article 2, 1(2), Winter and Spring, 19-32.

Mansouri, Amir (2010). “The Essense of Urban Landscape, Historical Review of Conceptual Developments in Urban Landscape in Iran”. Manzar Journal of Landscape, 9, 30-33.

Mansouri, Amir (2015). “Tourism, a Cognitive System”. Manzar Journal of Landscape: The Historical Review of the Conceptual Evolution of Urban Landscape in Iran, Article 6, 6(29), 28-33.

Manzo, L. (2003). “Beyond house and heaven: Toward a Re-visioning of Emotional Relationships with Places”. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23, 47–61.

McCallum, J. R. and Harrison, W. (1985). “Interdependence in the Service Encounter”. The Service Encounter: Managing Employee/Customer Interaction in Service Business, pp. 35-48. Lexington Books.

McIntosh, A. J., and Siggs, A. (2005). “An Exploration of the Experiential Nature of Boutique Accommodation”. Travel Res., 44, 74-81.

Norman, A. (2011). Spiritual Tourism: Travel and Religious Practice in Western Society. Bloomsbury Academic Publishing, ISBN: 9781441150448.

Olsen, D. (2006). “Typologies of spiritual tourists”. Unpublished paper presented at tourism: The spiritual dimension conference. UK: University of Lincoln.

Otto, J. E. and J.R. B. (1996). “The Service Experience in Tourism”. Tourism Management, 17(3), 165-174.

Prentice, R. C. and Anderson, V. A. (2000). “Evoking Ireland: Modelling Tourist Propensity”. Annals of Tourism Res., 27, 490-516.

Sameh, Reza and Sameh, Asieh (2015). “Environmental and Landscape Origins: Stimulus of Rural Tourism Development”. Manzae Journal, Article 8, 6(29), 40-45.

Sattari, F., Rasouli, E., Mirzaei, Sh., Molaei, M., & Sharegi, B. (2011). “The Role of Food and Culinary Condition in Tourism Industry, Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 9(6), 826-833, ISSN: 1990-9233.

Shackley, M. (2002). Managing sacred sites: Service provision and visitor experience. London: Continuum.

Shafia, Saeed and Sabaghpour Azarian, Mahdieh (Autumn 2016). “An Investigation on the Concept of Spirituality in Tourism: Content Analysis”. Journal of Tourism Management Studies,11(35), 127-107.

Shahivandi Ahmad, Varesi, Hamidreza and Taghvayi ,Masoud (2012). “An Analysis of Status of Tourism Infrastructures in Isfahan (With Emphasis Putting on Hotels)”. Geography and Environmental Planning (University of Isfahan), 22(4), 91-112.

Sharpley, R. (2009). “The English lake district—national park or playground?” In C. M. Frost & W. Hall (Eds.), Tourism and national parks: International perspectives on development, histories and change, pp. 155-166. Routledge, London.

Bell, Simon (2003). Landscape, Pattern, Perception and Process. Translated by: Behnaz Aminzadeh, Tehran: University of Tehran Press.

Sirakaya, E., Petrick, J. and Choi, H. (2004). “The Role of Mood on Tourism Product Evaluation”. Annals of Tourism Res., 31(3), 517-539.

Soleimani Moghaddam, Mohammad and Eslami, Ghasem (2011). “The Role of Accommodation Infrastructure in Tourism Activities of Rasht City”. Journal of Studies of Human Settlements planning, 6(17), 105

Stobbelaar, D. J., & Pedroli, B. (2011). “Perspectives On Landscape Identity: A Conceptual Challenge”. Lanscape Research, 36(3), 321-339.

Zahedi, Shamsosadat (2013). Sustainable Tourism and Eco-Tourism. Tehran: Allame Tabatabaei Publication.

Zube, E. H. (1973). “Rating Everyday Rural Landscapes of the Northeastern United States”. Landscape Architecture, 63(4), 370-375.

Zube, E. H., Pitt, D. G. (1981).” Cross-cultural Perceptions of Scenicand Heritage Landscapes”. Landscape Planning, 8(1), 69-87