The World Travel & Tourism Council has thrown its weight behind Heathrow’s bid to retain and expand its London airport hub status.

The organisation “wholeheartedly supports the concept of a single hub for London” which is properly connected to the wider transport network.

“Previous experience in London and almost all international examples demonstrate that operating twin airport hubs is a policy destined to fail,” the WTTC said as it backed Heathrow’s ‘one hub or none’ concept put forward to the Davies Commission on airport capacity earlier this week.

WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said: “The UK government welcomes tourists with one hand while holding up a ‘keep out’ sign with another.

“UK visa policies are overly bureaucratic and cumbersome; UK Air Passenger Duty is the highest of any country in the world; yet it is the incessant delay in providing new airport capacity which is by far the biggest problem facing travel and tourism in the UK.”

And he warned: “The Davies Commission will take too long to review the position.

“The private sector stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry stand ready to be the earnest partner in delivering on solutions.

“The UK government should grasp the nettle and make a decision that will bring jobs and economic growth at a crucial time for the UK economy.”

Travel and tourism is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion to the UK economy and helps sustain 2.3 million jobs.

But the WTTC argues that growth is being seriously inhibited by the lack of airport capacity in the southeast.