The head of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called on the Government to take immediate action to improve the UK's transport system.
Senior travel and tourism executives attending a WTTC event in London's Canary Wharf were told UK tourism's strong position will be placed in jeopardy unless the region's "deepening infrastructure constraints" are tackled.
The organisation was particularly critical of the handling of resources at the UK's main airport hubs, which have seen increasing delays and check-in times due to heightened security measures and limited capacity.
WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten said: "The current focus is on climate change and this industry cannot be demonised as the cause.
"It is quite simple. Efficient infrastructure and less congestion will have a positive impact on the environment."
Alan Parker, chief executive of Whitbread, added: "The hospitality industry depends heavily on the infrastructure of air, road and rail links, which transport clients to the hotels.
"If infrastructure does not keep pace with growth, then business and tourism could drift away from the UK."
The WTTC is demanding the Government puts in place a long term infrastructure plan covering the next 15 years at the very least using the London Olympics as a springboard.
WTTC on UK tourism
- UK travel and tourism will generate more than £190b in 2007
- It is set to grow at 3.3% a year between 2008 and 2017
- The UK travel and tourism economy is the fifth largest in the world
- Travel and tourism contributes 9.1% of the UK's GDP and 8.5% of employment.
By Chris Druce