Jamaica Tackles Air Passenger Duty in London


Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding and Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett met with British Members of Parliament (MPs) in London on June 17, in an effort to increase the lobby against the imminent increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Among the MPs was Diane Abbott, the representative for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who is of Jamaican descent.
The Jamaican Government is leading the charge for a revision of the APD, which Minister Bartlett has argued, places destinations like Jamaica at a disadvantage. He described the regime as unfair and will undermine Jamaican and Caribbean tourism.
During the meetings, he argued that the proposed new structure of the APD, in which countries are placed in charging bands determined by the distance of their capital city from London, was discriminatory, in that it favoured large developed countries over smaller ones, which operate in the same highly competitive environment.
Minister Bartlett has maintained that the increased tax is inherently unfair “and not the least bit green”.
“The structure of APD as an environmental tax, suggests that the impact of a flight to Jamaica or Barbados is greater than one to Miami, Los Angeles or Honolulu. Why should Caribbean countries with relatively low emissions suffer the effects of an environmental tax, in favour of the world’s biggest polluter?” he questioned.
According to the Tourism Minister, the changes will have a major effect on tourism to the Caribbean, thereby impacting the economies of the region and travel by members of the United Kingdom Caribbean Diaspora.
This week, Minister Bartlett and Director of Tourism, John Lynch are scheduled to meet with travel industry leaders in London, to discuss the impact of the increase in APD on the travel industry. These include British Airways’ General Manager Regulatory & Government Affairs, Jim Forster; Head of Business Development and Consumer Affairs, Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Federation of Tour Operators (FTO), Andy Cooper; and Head of the World Travel and Tourism Council, Jean Claude Baumgarten.
Minister Bartlett will also have talks with Conservative MP Greg Hands, who is known to have criticised the tax from its inception and meet with members of the Jamaican Diaspora to inspire them to lobby their MPs against the tax.
Director of the Caribbean Council, David Jessop, welcomed Minister Bartlett’s visit to the capital. He said: “we need leaders such as Minister Bartlett to forge the way by lobbying the British Government on APD. Change will not occur unless the Caribbean speaks with a united voice and we applaud the Minister’s conviction and the passion with which he seeks to effect change.”
The revised tax places long haul destinations like Jamaica in one of the highest bands, with economy class passengers facing a tax of

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