Opposition parties have hit out at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for claiming the tourism industry needs to "up its game" to reap the economic benefits of the 2012 Olympics.
A report released this morning by Travelodge predicted that the tourism benefits of hosting the Olympics could be as much as £1b more than current government forecasts of £2b.
In response, a DCMS spokesman told the BBC that the tourism industry needed to "up its game" in the run up to 2012 to ensure the country reaped the potential economic benefits.
Conservative shadow tourism minister Tobias Ellwood described the statement as "an insult" to all those who work in the industry.
"It is thanks to the Government that visitor numbers are down, compared with average global trends. This is caused by excessive red tape imposed on the hospitality industry, the doubling of visa charges, and a failure to support our seaside resorts. There are many things the Government could do to assist British tourism - complaining that it is the industry at fault is not one of them," he said.
Liberal Democrat tourism spokesman Don Foster said: "When will Labour stop passing the buck on tourism and start taking this vital industry seriously? The Government's tourism strategy detailing how to make the most of the games has been delayed twice now, leaving the industry waiting."
By Daniel Thomas