The 2012 Olympics could boost UK hospitality by £2.2b but only if the Government overhauls its tourism strategy, Travelodge has warned.
The company said the potential benefits were "neither inevitable nor automatic" and called for a number of important policy changes, including:
•Appointment of a full-time Tourism Minister to give the sector proper leadership
•Reverse the current freeze on tourism spending, dating back to 1997, by committing to substantial spending increases over the next five years
•Address industry concerns that the Treasury is proposing a cut to VisitBritain's budget in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review
•Confirm that a bed tax will not be levied on foreign or domestic visitors during the Games as they have a regressive impact on tourism
Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn said: "Winning the 2012 Games was a fantastic achievement and the potential economic legacy could transform tourism into one of the UK's top performing industries. However, achieving this requires a complete mindset change around tourism."
Hearn said the sector needed to see Tessa Jowell's words matched by explicit actions, which includes hard decisions on spending, tourism strategy and infrastructure development.
"Tourism is the future for Britain and we must embrace every opportunity to move forward," he said. "If industry and Government gets the planning right now, the prize is unprecedented."
•For more on this story see Caterer on Thursday (23 November).
By Daniel Thomas