In an effort to make travel more sustainable, Prince Harry is bringing global travel companies together to launch a new initiative, Travalyst, aimed at addressing issues like over-tourism, protecting wildlife, and climate change.
The initiative comes on the heels of backlash that Harry and Meghan Markle faced over their use of several private planes, boarding four private jets in 11 days.
This latest initiative includes travel industry giants like Booking.com, Skyscanner and TripAdvisor, according to Harry, with the goal of leveraging their connections with customers in order to influence change. It will initially focus on helping promote sustainable practices and consumer choices, but further details on the specifics of the initiatives were not immediately available.
“Travel has the unparalleled power to open people’s minds to different cultures, new experiences and to have a profound appreciation for what our world has to offer,” Prince Harry told Travel + Leisure in a statement. “As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide; and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population. Bringing companies, consumers and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations.”
A source close to the Duke of Sussex told Travel + Leisure that the companies involved have initially committed to the project for 36 months, and that since this concept is sort of a first of its kind, there is a lot of ground to make up.
Sustainability and climate change are issues close to Harry’s heart: he recently told primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall that he only wanted to have two children at most while talking about climate change, and has been known to request that hotels he stays in cut down on their use of plastic.
A survey of Booking.com travelers found that 71 percent think travel companies should offer more sustainable travel choices, according to organizers of Travalyst. And 68 percent of people surveyed said they want money they spend on travel to be put back into local communities.
“Global travel is a modern-day gift, bringing together cultures and communities across our planet,” Bryan Dove, the CEO of Skyscanner, told Travel + Leisure in a statement. “As such, we have an obligation to preserve our world for future generations to explore and enjoy - but to do this we need to act now as change won’t happen overnight. As the biggest players in the travel industry we have a responsibility to use our collective scale to lead this change.”
Stephen Kaufer, the president and CEO of TripAdvisor, said in a statement that everyone has a responsibility to “protect our precious planet,” adding: “I truly believe more can be achieved by joining together than going alone.”