The British Hospitality Association and leading hoteliers are demanding a cut in VAT to 5% on accommodation and attractions.
A reduction could generate 79,000 extra jobs, with a large proportion of those going to younger workers.
It would also contribute an additional £2.6 billion to the Exchequer over the next decade.
The open letter to Chancellor George Osborne ahead of the March 21 Budget says the hospitality industry supports 2.5 million jobs and contributes more than £34 billion a year to the Exchequer.
A total of 12 top industry figures - including Andy Harrison, chief executive of Whitbread, Guy Parsons, chief executive of Travelodge, and Simon Vincent, area president Europe of Hilton worldwide - have signed the letter.
“On the eve of Tourism Week, as you consider the final amends to the Budget Statement we ask you to cut VAT for the UK's visitor accommodation and attraction sector to five per cent,” the letter says.
“This year we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to steal a march over our rivals with London 2012 and the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
“Britain will be at the centre of global attention in 2012. There is no better signal that we are open for business than by cutting this tax on our overseas and domestic visitors.
“This will ensure 2012 delivers not just a temporary increase in visitor numbers, but a lasting economic legacy for the country in terms of jobs and revenue.”