The release, last week, of Sir Peter Burt's review of local taxation in Scotland raised the spectre of councils north of the border being granted discretionary powers to apply a tourism tax.
Industry response was swift and unequivocal. Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn talked of the "corrosive effects of tourism taxes", and Alan Rankin, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Forum, branded the idea of taxing tourists in Scotland "disastrous". Yet these and other reactions were dismissed as "hysteria" by Edinburgh council's tourism and culture leader, Donald Anderson.
Anderson is wrong to close his ears to the views of the industry, and wrong, also, to suggest that a tourism levy "would not be on local residents". Even if it were the case that foreign visitors alone would bear the burden of the tax - and patently, it's not, as domestic travellers would also be taxed - there's also the knock-on effect to consider. Heightened taxes would inevitably mean fewer visitors, and a drop in visitor numbers would directly affect taxi drivers, restaurateurs and a host of other individuals whose livelihoods hinge upon tourist spend.
The season of goodwill to all men might still be six weeks away, but some people around the hospitality industry are getting in some early practice. One such person is the winner of Springboard's 2006 FutureChef award, 15-year-old Michael Duff, who this week masterminded a dinner party for 70 guests at London's Hyatt Regency - the Churchill, in aid of Children in Need. His skill, enthusiasm and selflessness are a testament to the tireless work Springboard puts into inspiring youth and promoting hospitality as a career of choice.
If you want to do your bit to support Springboard's cause, why not head along to the Springboard Awards for Excellence dinner, to be held at London's Emirates Stadium on 29 November?
Mark Lewis, editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper