Should London mayor Boris Johnson's official duties take him into the lobby of a London hotel any time soon, he should expect the smiles bestowed on him by staff members to be cold and forced.
Johnson plans to introduce a levy on all new hotel developments of £60 per sq m in central London and £82 per sq m in the Docklands, in order to help chip away at the £16b bill for the capital's Crossrail project.
The plan has been greeted with dismay by eminent hoteliers. Chairmen, presidents and chief executives of Firmdale Hotels, Grange Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jury's Inn, Travelodge and Wyndham have written jointly to the mayor, imploring him to reconsider this "folly".
The country's fragile economy needs all the support it can get, as it emerges gingerly from recession. Like a new-born foal, it has raised itself off the ground, but still it stands on weak legs.
At a time when we are looking to local and central government to do all within its power to encourage sustained growth, demanding further contributions from the hotel sector is perverse. Hotels attract business and leisure travellers from around the world; these visitors inject cash into the economy and spark jobs creation.
Any barrier to the development of new-build hotels at the start of the nation's so-called Golden Decade of Sport has to be bad news for the country's hospitality and tourism sectors, and therefore to the country as a whole.
Are you concerned about the damaging effect a tax on hotel developments in the capital would have on UK tourism? Voice your views on the London mayor's plans now, at www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper