SIGN THE JDYA(UK)PETITION Relating TO: INCREASE AIR PASSENGER TAX Also affecting the cost of travel from The UK to JA LONDON, England (JIS) -- Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, took the issue of the planned increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) to British Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the House of Lords in London. Bartlett charged that the increase in APD proposed by the British Government is unfair and will undermine Jamaican and Caribbean tourism. Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett and Director of Tourism, John Lynch stand in Westminster, London and members of the travel industry, have shown their support for the lobby against the planned changes in the Air Passenger Duty (APD) proposed by the British government. Others are Andy Cooper from the Federation of Tour Operators; John Taker from Virgin Holidays and Chris Grey from the Travel Trade Gazette. 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. "This change makes APD an inherently unfair tax and not the least bit 'green', the Minister stated. "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 Maui. 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, which are scheduled to take effect in November, 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. "By placing the Caribbean in B and C, but the whole of the United States in band B, we are immediately at a significant price disadvantage. An unfortunate consequence of the geographical banding by capital is that the major developed countries in the region, the United States and Canada, are benefitting at the expense of less developed nations. The region is heavily dependent on tourism and many of the economies are still coming to grips with the loss of the banana trade. In countries like Jamaica, suffering from declining revenues from agriculture and mining, tourism has become the leading source of foreign exchange earning," Bartlett pointed out. "This will occur at a time when the impact of the global economic downturn is already being felt and the projections of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation suggest a sharp fall in visitor arrivals in 2009 and 2010," he noted further. He informed the British MPs and Lords, that the Jamaica Tourist Board and neighbouring Caribbean tourist boards have been behind a lobby against the change to the APD, organised by the UK industry publication, Travel Trade Gazette. The campaign, theme: 'Fair Fares to Reform APD' has circulated a petition to industry leaders, the travel industry and the Diaspora organisations and has secured more than 6,000 signatures, which will be submitted to the British Prime Minister. (edited from - http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/ article.phpnews_id=15993) In addition to this, the Jamaican Diaspora Youth Association (UK) would like you to support this cause by adding your name as signatory below. 'Fair Fares to Reform APD' 1. T.Levien (London) 2.