The UK hospitality industry will have a shortfall of one million workers by 2029 due to Brexit, the boss of Travelodge warned today.

Chief executive Peter Gowers said the UK will have to look at some kind of guest worker programme if we want to “stabilise” the economy after Brexit.

He was speaking to the BBC as the budget chain reported that rising demand from business travellers helped revenues grow by 6.6% to £637.1 million last year, with underlying earnings up 2.1% to £112.4 million.

Revenue per available room (revpar) was up 2.9% at £40.49, ahead of the wider budget market, with occupancy maintained at 76.1% and the room rate up 2.88% at £53.19.

Almost a third of Travelodge staff are from EU countries and Gowers said the company had noticed a drop-off in applications from those countries since the Brexit vote.

The chain had responded by taking on 360 apprentices and targeting workers looking for flexible hours to fit in with family and other commitments.

“We’ve become more proactive. We can’t wait around like two men on a park bench waiting for Godot for the government to decide what the post-Brexit machine is going to be,” he told The Times.