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PhD Research at the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH).

ICRETH has a number of scholars studying areas within events, tourism and hospitality. They are supervised by a team of experienced and internationally recognised academics who are actively engaged in related research themselves.
We welcome applications from suitably qualified people to undertake doctoral work in the broad area of events, tourism and hospitality.  If you have a project in mind and wish to be part of this stimulating research environment, please contact Dr Alexandra J Kenyon, Director of the Post-Graduate (Doctoral) programme via PhDprogrammeETHM@leedsbeckett.ac.uk who will be pleased to help you begin your research journey.  

Research Environment

The Centre offers a friendly and lively environment for its PhD researchers. You will normally be supervised by two academic members of staff. There are regular seminars to share and discuss issues on research methods as well as those presented by invited scholars on contemporary themes in events, tourism and hospitality. As PhD researchers you will be encouraged to participate in various seminars, workshops and conferences that take place in Leeds and also nationally and internationally. Networking events for PhD researchers are an important means of sharing ideas informally. The University also offers regular workshops and seminars for PhD researchers covering particular generic and complementary skills in accordance with the Joint Statement of the UK Research Councils’ Skills Training Requirements for Research Students.

Leeds Beckett University library has a significant collection relating to events, tourism and hospitality, and is also a United Nations World Tourism Organisation Depository Library.


Applying for PhD study at the ICRETH involves completing an application form which can be completed online.

We consider each application on its individual merits and ensure that proposed projects match the research interests and expertise of academic members of staff at ICRETH.

The language of PhD supervision, writing and examination is English. It is essential that you are fluent in both written and spoken English. The application form therefore asks that you provide evidence of your English language proficiency. The university requires an IELTS score of 7.


If your application is successful, ICRETH will support you in your search for doctoral funding, and will alert you to any funding opportunities that come to our attention. The following list of potential funding sources may help you with your search:

Current Research Students
  • David Andrews
    Having spent 30 years in the tourism sector in the UK including working in Local Authorities and being CEO of Yorkshire Tourist Board, I have help set up numerous tourism partnerships usually linked to various funding programmes (EU, national or regional/local). During 2001-2011 the Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward, invested over £100m into the visitor economy via the regional and local tourism partnerships or Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) in Yorkshire.  Yorkshire Forward established the Yorkshire DMO model of Yorkshire Tourist Board/Welcome to Yorkshire with the six local DMOs working collectively in partnership to deliver the strategic objectives - with the headline target of 5% growth in the value of tourism. Once the RDAs were closed due to change of government and policy, almost all the DMOs in Yorkshire either disappeared or reverted back into the local authorities. Having been involved in the development of the model with Yorkshire Forward, I wanted to understand more about why this occurred and specifically a better understanding of the partnership and collaborative activity between the DMOs and how to help DMOs operate more effectively through partnership and collaboration. Specifically, we are interested in how trust between the DMOs and between individuals works and what ways trust could improve DMO existing operations and their sustainability. I currently run three businesses, my own consultancy service (Andrews Associates), customer service training (Welcometraining) and leadership and management training (Redkite Innovations), so I am doing the research part-time with the aim to complete the research in the next year (over 5 years in total).
  • Katharine D’Amico
    Katharine has a BA (Hons) Degree in French and Italian Philology by Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, and a Masters degree in Linguistics, Translation and Interpretation by Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She has several years experience in translation, teaching and interpretation. She joined HTI ESADE-URL in 1998, where she currently lectures on the four year undergraduate programme in Neurolinguistics and Communication, and English as a foreign language at the proficiency level. She is a consultant and guest lecturer on public speaking and pitching, in Travel Click (2014), Cola Cao (2016) and La Salle masters degree in Mobile Business (2016), as a judge in the ESADE MBA Elevator Sales Pitch Competition in the Global Sales strategies course in 2013 and 2014, lecturer at the ESADE 2016 summer intensive programme for Presentation Skills and Public Speaking, and lecturer in the Executive MBA programme on Corporate Pitching 2016 and 2017.  Coordinator of HTSI Linguistic services and member of the URL ETHOS research group, translator and editor of all HTSI publications and promotional material, as well as for TED. She also collaborates as an official translator in Spain, on netnography research and semantics Mentor and coach for Public Speaking at WAYRA Telefonica and WAYRA Crowdworking Cornellà for Pitch Readiness 2014 – 2016, working with teams in Madrid and Barcelona, Pitch and mentor 2016 – 2017 at DDB Spain www.ddb.es and Ogilvy Barcelona www.ogilvy.com. She started her PhD in 2014 at Leeds Beckett University in Reticence, motivation and interpersonal closeness: A study in an EFL university classroom in Spain.  Her research areas of interest include reticence, sociolinguistics, semantics and motivation.
  • Marianna Kornilaki
    Kornilaki studied at Bradford College for a HND in International Travel and Tourism Management before joining the BA (Hons) Managing International Tourism course at Leeds Beckett University. Her undergraduate research focused on sustainable development undertaken by tour operators in terms of their supply chains and the co-operation with the destination and she graduated in 2003 with a first class degree. Her postgraduate research will develop a conceptual framework to investigate the attitudes and the responses of the small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) in Crete to the challenges of sustainable tourism. The research aims to offer an understanding and explanation of the behaviour of SMTEs to sustainability, and identify the challenges they experience in their attempts to implement sustainable practices in their everyday operations. The findings will help public authorities, non-governmental organisations and tourism suppliers such as tour operators to understand the needs of small- and medium-sized companies and to encourage them to work together towards achieving sustainable tourism development. Marianna is currently working as a senior lecturer in Events Management at Leeds Beckett University.
  • Ellie May
    Ellie holds a MSc in Social Research and Evaluation (University of Huddersfield), PG Diploma in Human Resource Management (Leeds Beckett University) and a BA (Hons) Tourism Management (Leeds Beckett University). Her PhD research explores volunteerism at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The research aims to offer insights into the profiles of volunteers whilst also exploring volunteers’ understandings and perceptions of disability, disability sport and athletes with disabilities. The research study was approved by the International Paralympic Committee.
  • Conor McTiernan
    Having worked for a number of years in hotel management positions in Ireland and the UK, Conor returned to education and graduated with an MBS Tourism and Travel Management from the Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin in 2001. Following a period as an instructor for Failte Ireland, the Irish Tourism Development Authority, in 2004 he began a lecturing career in the School of Tourism, Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Since then Conor has undertaken many extra duties and has served as a member of Academic Council, trained students for national business competitions, worked as a consultant with a variety of regional community tourism development projects and presented papers at Irish national conferences. In 2011 Conor was the recipient of the Failte Ireland Applied Research Bursary which funded the development of a festival evaluation toolkit. Conor’s PhD focuses on the role of trust in achieving the individual organisational goals of members of an Irish festival innovation system. Using social exchange theory as the underpinning theoretical framework, the research proposes to prepare a case study based on the AOIFE (Association of Irish Festival and Events) network.
  • Jackie Mulligan
    Her PhD is examining the role of meetings in creativity and innovation. After reviewing the literature and developed a conceptual framework, she is currently gathering data at various international events.
  • Alistair Palferman
    Alistair has an MSc in International Hospitality Management and has worked for several years in the hospitality and event sector both in the UK and in Asia. He began his PhD research in 2015 and is examining absorptive capacity in the events sector. Specifically, he is studying how organisations identify, assimilate, transform, and exploit valuable external knowledge in order to innovate. He is also teaching part time in the UK Centre for Events Management.
  • Esther Pugh
    Esther has twenty years experience in high street fashion and retail marketing. She has been responsible for creating eye catching and experiential store interiors across the world. Since entering the academic world eight years ago, she has engaged students in exciting industry- led projects, taking advantage of her huge business network.  Esther’s research interests are second-hand and vintage fashion, Consumer Culture Theory and Critical Spatial Theory. Esther’s PhD focuses on a world that she is passionate about and immersed in; that of vintage fashion and in particular, fairs and markets. Through the lens of Critical Spatial Theory she is examining the way that these ephemeral spaces are produced and experienced by buyers and sellers. Using Participant Driven Photo Elicitation as her research methodology, Esther hopes to create a brand new conceptual model of Space which can be utilised by industry and academia to better understand retail space from all perspectives.
  • Ubaldino Sequeira Couto
    Dino, as he likes to be called, has an MSc in Tourism Management and Marketing from the University of Nottingham and a BA (Hons) in Tourism Management from Staffordshire University. He has some experience working in the tourism and hospitality sector and moved on to pursue his ambition as a lecturer in events management at the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao, where he teaches and nurtures future professionals as well as engages himself in research. Dino's research study explores the role of ethnic festivals in social inclusion. Specifically, Macau hosts a number of festivals organised by ethnic minorities to celebrate their cultural identities and for other cultures to learn more about them. This project explores how organisers of these ethnic festivals think in promoting social inclusion. He started his PhD in January 2010 under the supervision of Dr Emma Wood and Professor Rhodri Thomas. Dino’s interest in this topic stems from his background growing up in Macau where he witnesses and is intrigued by the harmonious interaction between the Portuguese and Chinese, and later the many immigrants coming into the city-state. Dino is also interested in events-related research in general, especially those on event meanings and attendees experience, impacts to the community and green issues. He’s also passionate in the longest-running and most prolific event in the city, the annual Macau Grand Prix as well as religious festivals like Catholic processions and traditional Chinese community festivities. Dino is a lecturer in events management at the Institute for Tourism Studies in Macau. He holds a MSc in Tourism Management and Marketing from The University of Nottingham and is active in research.
  • Beata Szymanska –Waczynska
    Beata holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Polish Open University in Warsaw (Poland) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Strategic Management from Oxford Brookes University (UK). She also holds a BA (Hons.) in Business Administration from the Polish Open University in Warsaw (Poland) and Oxford Brookes University (UK). She has almost ten years’ experience in marketing, mostly in the catering, retail and education industry. She has also teaching and training experience. She works as a Business Adviser for future entrepreneurs and small businesses. Beata began her PhD in October 2007. After a break from her studies to give birth to twins Marta and Malgosia, she reenrolled in 2011 and is researching humour in advertising. She is examining the use of humorous celebrity endorsement in advertising as a tool in brand image change.
  • Lucia Tomassini
    Lucia Tomassini, from Italy, joined as PhD student in October 2011. Her background is on architecture with a postgraduate degree in urban development and reconstruction. Lucia has worked several years as urban planner in an Italian municipality alternating several volunteer periods abroad. She volunteered in the Isiolo Distric, Kenya, on service delivery and in La Habana, Cuba, on urban rehabilitation. After the postgraduate, she worked in Ecuador in a ‘pro poor tourism’ project held by an Italian NGO. The project was aimed to involve local communities of Mitad del Mundo, an area close to Quito in the Pichincha Province, in community tourism activities. Due to her interest in tourism potentialities in respect of development and conservation, she engaged in a PhD research aimed to investigate organizational system, effectiveness and impact of small-scale tourism projects. The research focuses on projects and interventions held by small tourism firms driven by ethical values, lifestyle motives and sustainability approaches. The case study of the research will be AITR – Associazione Italiana Turismo Responsabile – an Italian consortium gathering italian NGOs, tour operators and organizations committed to poverty reduction and sustainability.
  • Gerda Maria Warnholtz Brito
    Gerda holds a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Tourism from León University, Spain (2010), and a BA in Tourism. She has over five years’ experience in tourism, mostly indigenous and rural community-based tourism. She has worked as a consultant and trainer for Mexican and International NGO’s, having the opportunity to work directly with both, program designers and practitioners, and the indigenous communities they intend to benefit. She is an expert in Mexican culinary culture and traditions, and an important part of her professional activities involve the rescue and conservation of intangible cultural heritage. Gerda began her PhD in July 2011. Through the evaluation of the Indigenous Development Tourism Program run by the Mexican Government, she aims to better understand the mechanisms that influence the degree of success such projects have in communities with diverse and deeply rooted cultures and traditions. Based upon the information generated, she seeks to outline an alternative methodological route for the insertion of tourism projects, taking into account the needs and expectations of the communities, as well as their traditional world view.
  • David Bruce Whyte
    Bruce Whyte has more than 20 years of experience in tourism planning and is now a PhD researcher at ICRETH. Bruce trained first as a journalist, then after a decade in media took a B.Sc. in Geography from the University of Victoria and joined the British Columbia provincial tourism ministry. After nine years as tourism resource planner, he stepped aside for seven years to work as a tourism planning consultant for communities and First Nations and obtain a graduate degree from Royal Roads University. He has been back with the provincial government since 2007 as tourism development officer and cultural tourism advisor. Given his experience working to develop tourism which benefits host destinations, Bruce’s academic work will be exploring how the issues of authenticity and identity can contribute to tourism experiences which are both more interesting and informative for visitors, and more lucrative and rewarding for host communities. A special focus of his work will be on the contributions of the First Nations cultures of his region. Bruce lives in Victoria, British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast, with his wife Sharon. His external interests include hiking, cycling, gold-panning, rock-hounding, gardening, camping, sailing and paddling.
  • Alexandra Witte
    Alex holds an MSc in International Hospitality and Tourism Management from Strathclyde University and a BA in Chinese Studies from the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany.
    After several years in the hotel industry, she decided to begin her PhD here at Leeds Beckett University in 2014 under the supervision of Dr Thomas Fletcher and Dr Kate Dashper. Her research project combines her first two degrees and is focused on tourism and leisure walking practices and experiences on China’s Ancient Tea Horse Road in Yunnan, where she spent six months engaging in ethnographic fieldwork in 2016. Alex’s interest in this topic stems from a deep fascination with China’s complicated and diverse cultural, social and political history and current developments and their impacts on international and domestic tourism, as well as a love for exploring the outdoors on foot.
  • Yoke Yun Yap
  • Yianna Orphanidou
    Mrs Yianna Orphanidou is a lecturer and the Associate Head of the Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management department at the University of Nicosia (Cyprus). She has been teaching since 1999 in several Higher Education institutions, private and public in Cyprus and abroad. Since 2010 she is the chairperson of the Institute of Hospitality, Cyprus Branch (former HCIMA). She is a holder of an HND in Hotel Management (F&B specialization) from HHIC, a BA (HONS) in Hospitality Management and she holds an MSc in Hospitality and Tourism Education from Surrey University (UK). She has an extensive practical and academic experience in the field of Tourism and Hospitality management. Her research interests includes the design and development of Tourism/hospitality management competency model, employability of Hospitality/Tourism graduates, design of curriculum for hospitality and tourism courses and interactive methods of teaching hospitality and tourism modules. She is a board member of the Cyprus Sustainable tourism initiative since 2009, a non-profit organization that cooperates with the travel foundation utilizing projects that minimize the mass tourism impacts in Cyprus. Currently she is a PhD researcher at Leeds Beckett, UK in the area of tourism and hospitality education. Her research defines the need for recognition of the diversity of stakeholders and complexity of issues involved in the design, development and implementation of hospitality curricula by analysing and exploring through a qualitative research the Higher education environment of Cyprus.
PhD Alumni:
  • Sheree-Ann Adams
    Sheree-Ann Adams has been actively involved in Grenada’s Tourism development over the past fifteen years. Her primary focus has been the successful positioning of destination Grenada in the soft adventure product niche for both the cruise ship passenger and stay-over visitors to the island. Until May 2006, she served in the capacity of Board Director with several key tourism organizations including the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association and The Grenada Board of Tourism. Industry experience includes Cruise Lines (Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines), Hotels (Rex Resorts) and SME’s (Adventure Tours – Grenada). She studied Hotel Management at Barbados Community College, Tourism Management at the University of the West Indies and Environmental Management for Conservation and Recreation at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2009 she researched the sustainable tourism environmental initiative of Carbon Neutral Destinations in partial fulfilment of a MSc. in Tourism Management at Bournemouth University. Her PhD explores the role of sustainability information on the perceptions and holiday decision making of UK Cruise Passengers. Most studies focus on the Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of operating cruise ships within various destinations and less is known about the cruise passenger. Applying the research method of Conjoint Analysis to embarking passengers at England's Port of Southampton, the research examines consumer preferences and trade-off in relation to key cruise holiday attributes with the aim of determining the impact of global issues such as climate change and corporate responses notably Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility, has on the choice of cruise options.
  • Dr Elisa Burrai, UK
    Dr Elisa Burrai completed her PhD in 2012 exploring residents' perceptions toward volunteer tourism and its impacts on hosts' lives in Cusco, Peru. She now works at a Part-time lecturer at the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality at Leeds Beckett University and is a member of ICRETH.
  • Dr Jakob Calice, Austria
    Dr Jakob Calice's thesis 'Purification and Tourism: Detox in the Austrian Gastein Valley' combined medical, leisure and alpine tourism. Jakob now works for the Austrian Government's Ministry for Research and Technology.
  • Dr Fernando Correia, UK
    Dr Fernando Correia originally from Portugal finished his PhD in Tourism in 2009. His PhD assessed the effectiveness of the Charter in implementing sustainable tourism’s principles inside European protected areas and to identify the determinant variables for a successful implementation of such principles. Fernando now works as a Research Fellow in the Business School at the University of Exeter, UK.
  • Dr Suleiman Farajat, UK
  • Dr Fabian Frenzel, UK
    Dr Fabian Frenzel originally from Germany finished his PhD in Tourism in 2010. His PhD examined the concept of the political tourist, the spaces they create and the journeys they undertake in geographical and ideological space. His work looks at the notion of anti-globalisation protest as a nexus for 'political tourism'. Fabian previously worked as a Senior Lecturer in Critical Tourism Studies at the University of the West of England and is now working as a Lecturer in the Political Economy of Organisation at the University of Leicester.
  • Dr Yi Fu, China
    Dr Yi Fu finished her PhD in Tourism in 2012. Her PhD thesis was entitled Exploring Diaspora Communities' Festivals: Chinese New Year in England. Yi is now working as a Lecturer in Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology at Zhejiang University, China.
  • Dr Nicole Haeusler
  • Dr Ann Hindley
  • Dr Andreas Hofmann
  • Dr Sunyoung Hong, South Korea
    Dr Sunyoung Hong finished her PhD in 2012. Her research explored the relationship between the festivals and tourism and investigated the traditional Korean festival of ‘Ipchun-kut’ in Jeju Island, which is experiencing a large scale and rapid growth of inter-Asian regional tourism as a case study. Sunyoung now works as a Research Assistant on Jeju Island.
  • Dr Christina In Mei Iao
  • Dr Sam Isaac, UK
    Sam completed an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Beckett University in 2012. After that she worked for Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where she researched and wrote their current Sustainable Tourism Strategy. Before studying tourism Sam spent several years overseas.  During this time she taught English in China, Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina, developed community projects for an eco-lodge in Indonesia and carried out conservation work in Australia. Although small businesses have the potential to contribute towards the sustainability of a tourism destination they do not always do so. Sam’s research identified four specific sustainable tourism actions that businesses could take both individually and within the wider destination they operate in (using low energy lighting, encouraging visitors to recycle onsite, encouraging visitors to take part in car-free activities, buying locally) and explored reasons for engaging with these. Using a mixed-method approach she found that a positive attitude towards the behaviour was important as well as there being the necessary infrastructure in place to carry the action out.
  • Dr Sangkyun Kim, Australia
    Sangkyun originally from South Korea finished his PhD in Tourism in 2011. His PhD thesis analysed the influence of transnational media consumption on tourists’ behaviour. The main focus of the study is to investigate the underlying mechanisms and structures in the relationship between production values and consumption practices of transnational TV drama series. Sangkyun now works as a Lecturer in Tourism at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.
  • Dr Ko Koens
  • Dr Yanning Li
  • Dr Donata Marletta, Italy
    Dr Donata Marletta originally from Italy finished her PhD in Tourism in 2012. Donata’s research focused on the emergence of 'digital cultures' (visual art, video installation, electronic music) within the realms of tourism.
  • Dr Claudia Müller, Germany
    Dr Claudia Müller completed her PhD in Tourism in 2011. Her PhD research focused on East-German tourists' experiences travelling to other socialist countries, especially Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, between 1971 and 1989. Claudia is now working in Berlin, Germany for a globally operating company in medical equipment.
  • Dr Stefanos Nachmias, UK
    Dr Stefanos Nachmias completed his PhD in hospitality in 2012 and too on a position as Head of the MA Leadership and Management Programme at York St John University.
  • Dr Josef Ploner, UK
    Dr Josef Ploner originally from Austria completed his PhD in Tourism in 2011. Josef’s PhD researched aspects of tourism, heritage and landscape in the formation of regional and national identity in Austria. Josef currently works as a Research Assistant within the School of Education & Childhood at Leeds Beckett University, UK.
  • Dr Tamas Regi, UK
    Dr Tamas Regi originally from Hungary finished his PhD in Tourism in 2011. Tamas’ PhD research focused on socio-cultural relations between the western world and East African societies, with particular reference to the Mursi people of South-Ethiopia. He works as an Associated Professor at Kodolanyi Janos University of Applied Sciences in Hungary.
  • Dr Adam Richardson
  • Dr Anna Richter, Germany
    Dr Anna Richter completed her PhD in Event Management in 2011. Her PhD was entitled The politics of ‘participation’ in Liverpool, European Cultural Capital 2008. Anna is now working as a Research Fellow at the Department Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development which is part of the Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning, Germany.
  • Dr Ana Rita Sampaio, Portugal
    Dr Ana Rita Sampaio completed her PhD in Tourism in 2009. Ana’s PhD examined the reasons why small firms in tourism exhibit different levels of environmental engagement. She is now working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Geographical Studies at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Dr Karen Schwartz, UK
    Dr Karen Schwartz completed her PhD in Tourism in 2008. Her PhD examined how tour operators can work with suppliers to improve environmental, economic and socio-cultural performance. Karen worked as a Lecturer in Tourism at the Business School, Nottingham University, UK.
  • Dr Bernd Schwendinger
  • Dr Valerio Simoni, Portugal
    Dr Valerio Simoni originally from Switzerland completed his PhD in Tourism in 2010. His PhD was entitled Touristic Encounters in Cuba: Informality, Ambiguity, and Emerging Relationships. After finishing his PhD, Valerio took on a Post-Doctoral Researcher position at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA-IUL), Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Dr Andreas Walmsley, UK
    Dr Andreas Walmsley completed his PhD in Tourism in 2008. His thesis was entitled The Impact of Tourism SME Placements on Career Intentions. Andreas has previously been working as a Lecturer at York St John University and a Responsible Tourism Course Leader at Leeds Beckett University. Andreas currently works as a Senior Lecturer Business Management at York St John University, UK.
  • Professor Dr Desmond Wee, Germany
    Dr Desmond Wee finished his PhD in 2012. His research focused on the construction of "authentic" identities through a touristic gaze with reference to Singapore and its consumption of "Englishness". He is currently working as Professor of Tourism Sciences and Spatial Theories at the Karl International University in Karlsruhe, Germany.
  • Dr Alistair Williams
  • Dr Pei-Ying Wu

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