Consultancy and Research

We have been involved in a wide range of research projects and have a proven track record of research design and delivery.

Recent Research

UKinbound Breaking the Language Barrier Research

Project: 'Breaking the Language Barrier: Equipping our Tourism Workforce for the UK’s Future' (Dr Karen Thomas, Dr Julie Scott, Dr Marion Stuart-Hoyle, Lorna Thomas)

Date: 2018

Client: UKinbound 


For the tourism and hospitality sector, language skills are vital. The value of foreign modern languages relates not just to linguistic skills, but to enhanced intercultural awareness and understanding; providing the foundation from which workers within the sector can improve their ‘soft skills’ and help raise the UK’s reputation for welcome. As the inbound tourism industry strives to continue to grow strong international markets for UK tourism, Brexit has pushed the sector to a critical point, where they not only have to consider the value of EU workers, but evaluate the potential of home-grown talent to meet future recruitment needs.

Research undertaken by the Tourism and Events Hub, for leading travel trade association UKinbound, highlights the current lack of capacity in the UK’s education system to meet the shortfall in higher level language skills which are needed by the UK’s inbound tourism industry.

This study presents a supply-focused audit and analysis of the potential talent pool about to enter into career pathways with business proficient language skills, some with additional tourism and/or hospitality specialisms, and the landscape from which this emerges. This was achieved through an Evidence Review to explore what is currently influencing education provision and attainment in language skills in the UK, focusing on recent Government policy and post-16 language teaching in schools and the HE sector, as we move towards a post-Brexit era. Supplementing this was an Audit of Higher Education provision in the UK, focusing on two contrasting areas of provision: Tourism and hospitality programmes to identify provision for language learning within programme structures and modern language degree programmes to explore the visibility of tourism and hospitality as a career pathway.

The Breaking the Language Barrier: Equipping our Tourism Workforce for the UK’s Future report was launched by UKinbound at a Parliamentary Reception on 19 June as part of UKinbound’s Brexit Campaign. Read the research report here.

“UKinbound worked in partnership with CCCU in 2018 to produce a new report exploring the current and future levels of modern language skill take up in the UK and the impact on the UK tourism industry. From the start, the team at CCCU were very easy to work with. They were professional, methodical and fulfilled the brief perfectly. I would not hesitate to recommend or use Karen and her team of researchers again.”

Deirdre Wells, CEO of UKinbound

EXPERT COMMENT: Growing language skills gaps in inbound tourism


With recent media interest on both the record growth of inbound tourism and the fall in popularity of modern languages study at A-level, Dr Karen Thomas and Dr Julie Scott, review how far home-grown talent can meet the future needs of the inbound tourism industry for linguists. Read more.


Culture Kent

Project: Culture Kent Research Programme (Dr Karen Thomas and Dr Julie Scott)

Research partner: Visit Kent

Date: 2015-2017

Client: Culture Kent, led by Turner Contemporary

Culture Kent logo

In partnership with Visit Kent, the Tourism and Events Research Hub was commissioned by Culture Kent to conduct a two year research programme, to provide a robust evidence base to facilitate the achievement of its key outcomes. Culture Kent was funded by Arts Council England and VisitEngland, as part of the Cultural Destinations Programme. Led by Turner Contemporary, the aims of Culture Kent were to showcase Kent’s cultural assets; extend reach by attracting new audiences; create new strategic relationships and develop the information and knowledge core required to strengthen the Kent cultural tourism offer. The findings of the research and supporting resources produced by the Culture Kent Research Programme can be accessed here.

Associated with




EXPERT COMMENT: Partnerships & Cross-sectoral Working: Building Resilient Cultural Destinations


In light of both the interim evaluations of the 2017 Hull UK City of Culture and new research delivered by the Culture Kent Research Programme, Dr Julie Scott and Dr Karen Thomas discuss the importance of partnership working to building cultural destinations. Read more


Some Past Projects by members of the Hub team


Dr Julie Scott

British Council Cultural Protection Fund programme- led participative 3 day workshop with local community, Museum of Mardin, and Turkish Social History Foundation, developing capacity in the viability, safeguarding and uses of intangible cultural heritage.


Dr Julie Scott

National strategy development for sustainable community tourism and application in selected pilot project destinations as part of UNDP/Ministry of Culture and Tourism Sustainable Community Based Tourism Development Capacity Building Programme.


Dr Julie Scott

SMARTOUR Project (Erasmus+) – Training needs analysis and development of Europe-wide training tools for sustainable tourism managers.

Contact us

Dr Karen Thomas
Director, Tourism and Events Hub

T: 01227 922691



Connect with us

Last edited: 27/06/2019 10:31:00