Travel companies should beware of making misleading claims about their environmental credentials, according to the head of luxury group Leading Hotels of the World.

Chief executive Wolf Ebeling said: “Travel has been one of the first industries to offer alternative products. But customers increasingly discern truly sustainable actions against claims made only for a public relations purpose.

“Industry claims are coming under increasing scrutiny and businesses that make misleading environmental claims risk damaging their reputations and losing market share.”

Ebeling suggested US travellers were among the most resistant to measures designed to make properties more sustainable.

But this was changing, he added: “Americans have been the victims of conspicuous consumption – making them believe 42 towels in a room makes for luxury. But they are breaking out of that mould.”