The British Hospitality Association has hit out at the government, accusing it of “not listening to the wealth creators”.

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “There is a lot of government talk about supporting the industry, but very little action.”

The criticism comes despite tourism minister John Penrose attending the recent BHA summit in London.

Ibrahim said: “The UK cannot compete without greater government understanding of the competitive barriors holding back growth. Those barriers must be broken down. At present, the industry is just fighting to maintain its share of the market, with little hope of significant growth.”

She said: “The present government is not listening to the country’s wealth creators.

“Government has to deal with UK tourism’s lack of competitiveness. This is the biggest barrier to creating jobs in the industry at all levels.”

The BHA summit heard a succession of senior speakers condemn the government over the the 20% rate of VAT on hotel rooms, the high rates of Air Passenger Duty (APD), the cost and difficulties of the UK visa system, and the lack of airport capacity.

Ibrahim said: “The BHA will be taking this message to Whitehall as we develop an industry-wide strategy for growth.

“We must gather all the industry’s forces to ensure there is a real change in attitudes and policies so that action follows.”