High prices, the worsening economy and the weak dollar are beginning to hit the hospitality sector with one million fewer tourists visiting the UK during the three months to September, compared with the same period in 2006.
Tim Helliwell, head of hotel finance at Barclays Commercial Bank, said the scale of the drop was worrying.
"A fall in visitors from the USA was expected, given the continued weakness of the dollar, but this drop is far broader than expected," he said.
"All of the evidence points to a notable decrease in business travellers as companies react to current market conditions and their possible impact on the wider economy. With the number of major deals in the pipeline slowing there's just less of a reason to leave the office."
"The price of air travel is also increasing, as airlines pass on rising fuel costs to passengers. Hoteliers will be hoping that these begin to come down to encourage more leisure visitors to visit the UK," Helliwell added.
By Daniel Thomas
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