At a news conference in Amsterdam, Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex, unveiled Travalyst, a massive travel sustainability initiative. The initiative partners with main service providers and aims at bettering practices of the global travel industry in the wake of an ever-increasing number of travellers.
Amsterdam is a city hit with over-tourism and seemed like the perfect location to launch the initiative. Representatives of Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Visa, China's largest travel company, Ctrip, and the Ctrip-owned fare aggregator Skyscanner joined the Prince at the launch.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have always been champions of eco-friendly travel. The couple has always pledged time and funds towards the cause of various animals like elephants, lions and conservation of habitats of various animals around the world.
“Travalyst is a first of its kind coalition, it will help strengthen communities and ecosystems for generations to come,” Prince Harry posted on Instagram. “I want to start with a little bit of background as to specifically why I’m here today because as you may know, I am not a tourism or business expert, but through my travels, I have observed the unique relationship between community and environment, and have noticed something alarming. There wasn’t the symbiosis or connection there needed to be and I wanted to understand why. I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems, in the hope of finding solutions…and that’s how Travalyst was born,” he further wrote on the image-sharing platform.
The initiative will focus on tackling the travel industry's impact on climate change, improving wildlife conservation and protecting the environment in top tourist spots. It will also look at ways to better serve local communities through tourism dollars.
The launch of the initiative comes at the heels of critics slamming the Duke and the Duchess for taking private jets for their travels. Prince Harry also defended his use of private jets on his travels, "I spend 99% of my life travelling the world by commercial,” he said, and added, “Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe.”
In a previous Instagram post, Prince Harry announced his plan to take his family on an official tour of Africa, the place he has visited a few times previously. Princess Diana, the royal's late mother too, had a special connect to Africa. The Princess of Wales has done extensive work in the continent including creating awareness on landmines.