Contact Information

250 358 Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC, Canada, V9R 5S5

250-753-3245, Ext. 2259


Academic Positions


Teaching Experiences

Academic Review Services

Editorial Positions

Grant Reviewer

Journal Article Reviewer (selected list)

− Associate Editor: Journal of Ecotourism
− Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC CCI) Grant Application Reviewer
- Tourism Management 
- Journal of Sustainable Tourism 
- International Journal of Tourism Research 
- Journal of Environmental Psychology 
- Human Dimensions of Wildlife 
- Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism 
- Society and Leisure 
- Journal of Tourism Research & Hospitality 
- Journal of Hospitality Management and Tourism 
- Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics 

Publications and Refereed Conference Presentations and Proceedings

Refereed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

- Wright, P., Moghimehfar, F., & Woodley, A. (in press). Canadian’s perspectives on how much space nature needs. FACETS.

- Halpenny, E., Kono, S., & Moghimehfar, F. (2018). Predicting World Heritage site visitation intentions of North American park visitors. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, 9(3), 417-437.

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Walker, G. J. (2018). Front-Country Campers' Constraints, Negotiation, and Pro-Environment Behavioral Intention: An Extension to the Theory of Planned Behavior. Leisure Sciences, 40(3), 174-193.

- Moghimehfar, F., Harshaw, W. H., & Foote, L. (2017). Hunting tourism: The case of Canadian prairie waterfowl hunters. In R. Green & I. Lima (Eds.), Wildlife Tourism. Berlin, Germany: Springer.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2016). How do people negotiate through their constraints to engage in pro-environmental behaviour? A study of front-country campers in Alberta, Canada. Tourism Management. 57, 362-372.

- Moghimehfar, F. & Halpenny, E. A. (2016). Mountain hikers’ pro-environmental behaviour constraints. In H. Richins & J. Hull (Eds.), Mountain tourism: Experiences, communities, environments and sustainable futures. London, UK: CABI.

- Kulczycki, C., Halpenny, E. A., & Moghimehfar, F. (2016). Factors effecting destination and event loyalty: Examining the sustainability of a recurrent small-scale running event at Banff National Park. Journal of Sport & Tourism. 20 (3-4), 233-262.

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Ziaee, M. (2014). How big is the gap? Comparing the behaviours and knowledge of mountain hikers with ecotourism ideals: A case study of Iran. Journal of Ecotourism, 13, 1-15.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Nasr-Esfahani, M. H. (2011). Decisive factors in medical tourism destination choice: A case study of Isfahan, Iran and fertility treatments. Tourism Management, 32, 1431-1434.

Refereed Conference Research Presentation And Proceedings

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Walker, G. J., Harshaw, W. H. (2018, September). Predicting Pro-Environment Behaviors of Canadian Campers: Actual Behavior Measurement. Paper to be presented at Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference (TTRA) 2016, Edmonton, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F. (2017, June). How Nature-Based Tourists’ Awareness of Environmental Issues Influences their Ecological Worldview: A Case Study of Canadian Nature-based Tourists. Asia Pacific Tourism Association (APTA) 2017, Busan, Korea.

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Harshaw, H. W. (2017, May). Do Campers’ Ecological Worldviews Influence their Choice of Camping and Outdoor Recreation Equipment? A Study of Front-Country Campers in Alberta. Paper to be presented at the 15th Canadian Congress on Leisure Research (CCLR) 2017, Waterloo, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F. (2016, September). The Influence of Ecological Worldview and Attitudes on Park Visitors’ Pro-Environmental Behavioural Intention: A Case Study of Alberta Parks’ Campers. Paper presented at Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference (TTRA) 2016, Edmonton, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Harshaw, H. W. (2015, October). Park visitors’ attitude toward pro-environmental behaviour: An application of New Ecological Paradigm scale. Paper presented at Alberta Recreation and Park Association (ARPA) conference 2015, Lake Louise, AB, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2015, September). Predicting campers’ pro-environmental behaviour in Alberta parks, Canada: Actual behaviour measurement case report. Paper expected to be presented at Travel and Tourism Research Association TTRA 2015, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2015, September). Predicting pro-environmental camping behaviour in Alberta parks, Canada. Paper presented at National Recreation and Park Association NRPA 2015, Las Vegas, NV, US. [Best paper award winner – NRPA Conservation Pillar]

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2015, May). The influence of general environmental attitude on motivation and intention to participate in environmentally-friendly behaviour: A study of Alberta Park’s front-country campers. Paper presented at Thinking Mountains 2015, Interdisciplinary Mountain Studies Conference, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F. (2015, March). Activity-based study of pro-environmental behaviour among campers in Alberta, Canada. Poster presented at 2015 ARPA Parks Forum, Canmore, Alberta, Canada. [Best paper award winner]

- Halpenny, E.A., & Moghimehfar, F. (2015, March). World Heritage brand awareness and recognition: A study of southern Alberta parks visitors. Poster presented at the 2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites, Oakland, California.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2014, December). How do people negotiate through their constraints to engage in pro-environmental behaviour? A study of front-country campers in the Canadian Rockies. Paper presented at the 11th New Zealand Tourism and Hospitality Research Conference, Waikato, New Zealand.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2014, May). Predicting visitation to World Heritage sites. Paper presented at the 14th Canadian Congress on Leisure Research (CCLR) 2014, Halifax, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Shahzeidi, M. (2013, October). Nature tourism and sustainable behaviour constraints: A qualitative study of mountaineering clubs in Isfahan, Iran. Paper presented at Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference (TTRA) 2013, Ottawa, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2013, October). Medical tourism and infertility treatment: An overview. Paper presented at Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference (TTRA) 2013, Ottawa, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., Halpenny, E. A., & Shahzeidi, M. (2013, June). Predicting pro-environmental behaviour in ecotourism context: An extension of the theory of planned behaviour. Paper presented at International Symposium on Society and Natural Resources (ISSRM), Estes Park, Colorado.

- Halpenny, E. A., & Moghimehfar, F. (2013, June). Predicting pro-park behavior: Examining the effect of world ecological view (NEP), place attachment, past environmental behaviors, park satisfaction, and perceived efficacy of pro-environmental behaviors. Paper presented at International Symposium on Society and Natural Resources (ISSRM), Estes Park, Colorado.

- Prasad Acharya, B., Halpenny, E. A, Moghimehfar, F., & Hamayeli Mehrabani, M. (2013, June). They seem to be heading in the right direction: An examination of residents’ attitudes towards park management and tourism development related World Heritage designation. Paper presented at International Symposium on Society and Natural Resources (ISSRM), Denver, Colorado.

- Moghimehfar, F., & Halpenny, E. A. (2012, December). The impact of education and experience on knowledge and behaviour: A case study of Isfahan, Iran and mountaineering clubs. Paper presented at Thinking Mountains 2012, Interdisciplinary Mountain Studies Conference. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

- Moghimehfar, F., Ziaee, M., & Halpenny, E. A. (2012, June). Comparing ecotourists’ behaviours and knowledge with ecotourism ideals: A case study of Isfahan, Iran. Paper presented at International Symposium on Society and Natural Resources (ISSRM), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Community Resilience in a changing Climate: Wildfires, Tourism, and Adaptive Capacity in BC

Every year, natural and human caused disasters interrupt the lives of millions of people around the world. British Columbia’s historic 2017 wildfire season, now eclipsed by 2018 as the worst fire season on record, resulted in the burning of over 1.2 million hectares of land and the displacement of nearly 65,000 residents. Life threatening fire hazards also caused enormous damage to local tourism businesses in communities throughout the province, highlighting the pressing need for strategic plans that empower communities to respond.

A growing number of academics, community leaders, and governments have prioritized resilience as their development paradigm, with the aim of preparing communities to face such challenges. BC has a successful history developing sustainable and resilient communities. The aim of this research is to build on this legacy by integrating social science research methods and game theoretical frameworks to develop a tourism planning strategy that improves BC communities’ resilience through addressing the ability of individuals, communities, and local tourism businesses to respond to unexpected changes.

In the first phase of the project, the socio-economic and environmental situation of several target communities will be studied. Employing a geographic information system (GIS) approach, identified factors will be overlapped with geographic and environmental factors to characterize the regions of the study. A mixed methods approach will then be utilized to study the regions, and factors influencing resilience will be identified to inform the development of a planning framework. Data collected through the first phase will be used as inputs for Game Theory analysis.

Strategy development will include economic factors (i.e., constant and non-constant marginal costs), supply functions, social factors (e.g., preferences, motivations, and contextual factors) and environmental elements. Data will be collected from residents, local tourism businesses, and community planners.

To date, game theoretical frameworks have not been extensively applied in tourism planning. The proposed research employs social science methods and mathematical models and marries multiple disciplines including tourism, GIS, economics, and community planning to introduce a novel strategy development approach in a tourism context which is expected to benefit several thousand communities in BC and across Canada.

How much space does nature need?

Determining how much land/sea to conserve in a system of protected areas is widely discussed. In the past, targets have been set internationally and domestically best described as policy-driven or aspirational targets. More recently, there has been a call amongst conservation scientists to shift towards science-based targets for conservation. What has been missing from this dialogue to date is public perception on how much to protect. We conducted an online, regionally-balanced survey of just over 2000 Canadians to ask about their values for protected areas and how much they thought was currently, and should be protected. Overall, Canadians agree that protected areas are necessary (93%) with protection for wildlife (92%) and protection of areas of scenic or natural beauty (90%) the top reasons reported for having protected areas. Although Canadians widely overestimated (by a factor of 2 or more) the proportion of land/sea currently protected in Canada they felt that approximately 50% of land and sea should be protected in Canada and globally. The general support for protected areas expressed in this study is consistent with other studies however, the support for a significant increase in the amount of land/sea protected is a new finding in Canada although consistent with applications of the same survey in other countries. These finding lend support to not only meet, but significantly exceed Canada’s international commitments for conservation.

Collaborators: Dr. Pam Wright (UNBC); Woodley, Alison (Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society)

Self-Determination, Ecological World View, and Pro

With over 45,000 people living within its boundaries, the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) is situated within the traditional territories of seven First Nations and hosts a diverse range of habitats and ecosystems within its boundaries. Designated as a biosphere region by UNESCO, MABR community partners work together to find innovative ways to achieve a balance between the needs of humans and nature (“MABR,” n.d.). MABR is a popular tourism and recreation destination. Every year several thousand people visit the region and participate in a variety of outdoor recreation activities. The governance of the region in collaboration with Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism, Destination British Columbia, and Vancouver Island University, conduct several programs namely, the MABR Amazing Places Project “to connect people with nature and educates residents and visitors about the ecological significance of the region” (MABR Annual Report, 2016, p. 7). The effectiveness of such programs, however, is dependent on our knowledge of the region’s visitors’ characteristics and their behaviour. Collaborating with the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute’s (MABRRI) at VIU, the present research project aims to investigate the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region’s visitors’ pro-environmental behaviour through a survey study to be designed and conducted by VIU students and faculty. The purpose of the proposed study is to understand factors that influence people’s participation in pro-environmental behaviour during their visit to the MABR. Results of the survey will inform the framework of a second student led project. The second project is aimed to design an innovative social marketing campaign targeting people’s pro-environmental behaviour in the MABR. Based on the findings of the proposed research study, recreation and tourism management students (RMGT 259 in fall 2019) will design social marketing campaigns. The best campaign will be selected by the MABRRI’s scholars and MABR’s government authorities.

Collaborators: Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI;

Predicting World Heritage site visitation intentio

World Heritage sites (WHS) can play an important role in promoting visitation to emerging and remote destinations. Guided by the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), this study aims to investigate factors that predict intentions to visit WHS.

Survey questionnaires were used to collect data from visitors (n = 519) to four Western North American WHS. Partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) was used to identify three reflective models (attitude toward visiting World Heritage, perceived behavioural control and intention to visit WHS in the future), three formative models (attitude toward World Heritage designation, social influence (subjective norms) to visit World Heritage and World Heritage tourism brand equity) and a structural model.

World Heritage tourism brand equity and social influence were strong positive predictors of intentions to visit WHS in the future. Attitudes towards World Heritage designation, followed by World Heritage travel attitudes and perceived behavioural control, were progressively weaker, yet positive predictors. However, the latter two concepts’ impact was negligible.

This study addresses four deficiencies in tourism studies: TPB studies have failed to find consistent predictors of intentions to visit destinations; very few studies have attempted to verify the factors that predict visitation to WHS, despite the opportunities and costs that can arise from WHS-related tourism; few studies of tourists’ perceptions of World Heritage and related WHS travel intentions have been conducted in North America; and PLS-SEM was used to perform statistical methods not commonly used in tourism studies including formative models, importance-performance mapping and confirmatory tetrad analysis.

Collaborators: Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny (University of Alberta), Dr. Shintaro Kono (Southern Illinois University)

Front-Country Campers' Constraints, Negotiation, and Pro-Environment Behavioral Intention: An Extens

The theory of planned behavior (TPB) has been successfully tested in leisure and outdoor recreation studies over the last few decades. However, the inclusion of new predictors to improve the theory's predictive power has been encouraged. Utilizing leisure constraints approach, we extended the TPB by adding constraints to the theory. The literature also suggested that individuals employ cognitive and behavioural negotiation strategies to overcome their constraints. Therefore, the influence of negotiation through the constraints was also explored in this study. A sample of 1,009 front-country campers was analyzed to test the proposed extension to the TPB. Results of structural equation modeling confirmed a strong, negative indirect association between constraints and intention. Negotiation was positively and indirectly associated with intention. The proposed extension to the TPB was capable of capturing 84% of variation in intention. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Collaborators: Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny; Dr. Gordon Walker (University of Alberta)

Predicting Pro-Environment Behaviors of Canadian Campers: Actual Behavior Measurement

Although nature-based tourism has been promoted as a tool to connect people to nature, managing the environmental impacts of nature-based activities has been a major concern (Mieczkowski, 1995; Buckley, 2004; Monz, Pickering, & Hadwen, 2013; Hammitt, Cole, & Monz, 2015). According to Mason (2015), managing nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation is challenging due to the limitations of required knowledge and engineering. Thus, it is important to understand people’s behavior to be able to manage impacts associated with nature-based tourism activities. This study introduces a comprehensive theory, which includes actual behavior measurements, in order to predict pro-environmental behaviors of front-country campers in Canada. Some of the most well-acknowledged social psychological theories, were incorporated into the theory of this study.

Collaborators: Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny; Dr. Gordon Walker; Dr. Howie Harshaw (University of Alberta)

Hunting Tourism: The Case of Canadian Prairie Waterfowl Hunters

Hunting tourism plays important roles in the conservation of wildlife; hunters provide financial support for conservation programs and habitat protection, assist in the monitoring of wildlife populations, and play important roles in population management (Heffelfinger et al. in Int J Environ Stud 70:399–413, 2013). These conservation roles indirectly benefit host communities through the stewardship of wildlife populations and the protection of habitats. The hunting of waterfowl is a popular form of hunting tourism; however, the number of North American waterfowl hunters has been declining since the mid-1970s (NAWMP Revised objectives: an addendum to the 2012 North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, 2014). Although a number of conservation and waterfowl hunting organizations and government programs offer educational and mentorship programs to promote waterfowl hunting and retain hunters, declines in the number of waterfowl hunters continues. This chapter examines constraints to hunting tourism and explores waterfowl hunters’ motivations in an effort to understand what influences decisions to participate in waterfowl hunting as a nature-based tourism activity. Using a deductive approach, this chapter employs self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan in J Mind Behav 1:33–43, 1980), the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen in Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50:179–211, 1991), and leisure constraints theory (Crawford et al. in Leisure Sci 13:309–320, 1991) to guide a thematic analysis. Thirty-four waterfowl hunters, representing a range of skill levels and commitment to the activity, were interviewed in three Canadian provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) about the factors that influenced their decisions to hunt waterfowl. These factors included structural, interpersonal, and intrapersonal constraints, and attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. We contrast the theoretical and managerial implications of these findings. Findings of this qualitative research inform tourism, outdoor recreation, and wildlife managers and planners to develop strategies for the recruitment and retention of hunting tourists and help retain the local ecological and economic benefits of waterfowl hunting.

Collaborators: Dr. Howie Harshaw; Dr. Lee Foote (University of Alberta)

How do people negotiate through their constraints to engage in pro-environmental behavior? A study o

This study examined structural models of associations among constraints to pro-environmental nature-based tourism behavior, negotiation through these constraints, motivations to engage in pro-environmental behavior, and knowledge of pro-environmental activities. Three types of constraints (i.e., intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural) were investigated to obtain a detailed understanding of barriers to pro-environmental tourism behavior. Structural models were tested using data obtained from front-country campers (n = 1009) in Alberta, Canada. Results showed that constraints negatively and directly influence intention. Negotiation and knowledge positively and directly influenced intention. Motivation and knowledge directly and negatively influenced constraints, and directly and positively influenced negotiation. The mitigating effect of negotiation on the association between constraints and intention was supported by the data. The theoretical and practical implications relating specifically to constraints to engaging in pro-environmental nature-based tourism activities are emphasized.

Collaborator: Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny (University of Alberta)

Factors effecting destination and event loyalty: examining the sustainability of a recurrent small-s

An important form of economic sustainability for tourism businesses is customer loyalty. Using a sample of 387 active sport tourists, factors that influence destination and event tourism loyalty are reported on in this paper. Thirty-six per cent of destination loyalty’s variance was explained – operationalized as intentions of active sport tourists to revisit and recommend Banff National Park (NP). Thirty-one per cent of event loyalty’s variance was explained – operationalized as participation in future offerings of an annual small-scale running race, Melissa’s Road Race, located in the park. Destination loyalty was directly and positively predicted by park attachment and indirectly influenced by event attachment, followed by nature-related travel motives, frequency of visits to the park and history of engagement in the race. Event loyalty was directly and positively predicted by event attachment and racers’ views regarding the appropriateness of Banff NP as a race context and indirectly by history of race participation. Running travel motives, perceived value of park entry and event fees failed to predict loyalty intentions. Two models were used to explore the ‘correct’ conceptualization of relationships between event attachment and park attachment. The model that depicted event attachment as an antecedent to park attachment demonstrated better fit with the data, and thus suggests support for the proposition that attachments which develop for special events may in turn support the development of destination attachment.

Collaborators: Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny (University of Alberta); Dr. Cory Kulczycki (University of Regina)

Sustainable Mountain Hiking Practices in Isfahan, Iran

This project presented two case studies that examined the constraints experienced by individuals attempting to engage in environmentally-responsible hiking and camping practices in the mountains of Iran. With a population of over 75 million people, Iran (also known as Persia) is located in the Western Asia. Two-thirds of Iran is covered with mountain ranges, namely the Zagros and Alborz. Since the human settlement of Iran in the Lower Paleolithic era people’s lives have been intertwined with mountains. Modern mountaineering as a sport and recreation activity started in 1836 and soon became a popular leisure activity of the Iranians (Barjesteh & van Waalwijk, 2007). To date a considerable number of people in this country participate in mountaineering activates in different levels ranging from family day hikes to large scale expeditions. These mountaineering activities are planned by individuals, not-for-profit organization, travel agencies, and governmental bodies (e.g., Iran Mountaineering Federation). The most popular types of mountaineering activities are organized by not-for-profit organizations (also known as mountaineering clubs) that are the major focus of this chapter.

Using a qualitative approach, the first case study presented explored pro-environmental behaviour constraints experienced during outdoor activities in mountain environments from the perspective of mountain guides. Twelve certified mountain guides were interviewed. A deductive approach, based on the hierarchical model of leisure constraints (Crawford, Jackson, & Godbey, 1991) was used to categorize these identified constraints. The second case study investigated the influence of constraints on hikers’ intentions to engage in pro-environmental behaviours while hiking in the same mountains. Negotiation strategies individuals used to overcome the barriers to behave in an environmentally-responsible manner were also studied. As with other recreational activities, individuals experience constraints to engaging in sustainable mountain hiking. To date, the authors could not find any study specifically concentrated on constraints to environmentally-responsible mountain hiking. The present chapter pursues this topic to open an avenue for further social psychological research on this topic.

Collaborator: Dr. Elizabeth Halpenny (University of Alberta)

How big is the gap? Comparing the behaviours and knowledge of mountain hikers with ecotourism ideals

Since the emergence of the concept of ecotourism in the late twentieth century, the influence of knowledge and education on nature tourists' behaviour has been explored in a number of studies. This paper reports on Iranian mountaineering club members' engagement in and awareness of ‘ideal’ ecotourism practice. Also reported are observed relationships between participants' knowledge of ecotourism and engagement in ecotourism behaviour, and two explanatory variables, their level of formal education and hiking experience. A sample of 317 mountaineering club members in Isfahan, Iran, was conducted. Data were collected using a survey questionnaire measuring participants' behaviour in mountain environments and their knowledge of ecotourism, which was conceptualised as having three dimensions, environmental, sociocultural, and economic. Results indicated noticeable gaps between participants' knowledge and behaviour and between these two variables and ideal ecotourism practice. Analysis of variance followed by a Tukey test also revealed significant differences among hiking experience groups regarding participants' engagement in ecotourism and knowledge about ecotourism. No significant differences were found among groups segmented by education level. The importance of hiking experience, knowledge of the issue, and effectiveness of formal education in ecotourism practice is discussed.

Important Links

- Vancouver Island University:

- Department of Recreation and Tourism, Vancouver Island University:

- Faculty at Department of Recreation and Tourism, Vancouver Island University:

- Master of Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management:

- VIU World Leisure Centre of Excellence: