(Travel Pulse) Prince Harry, long a supporter of environmental causes, is now turning his attention to the travel industry.
The Duke of Sussex is set to lead a global sustainable travel initiative designed to bring companies, consumers and communities together, The New York Times has reported.
Prince Harry announced his latest effort during a gathering in Amsterdam today. The initiative is to be called Travalyst and has actually been in the works for about three years, according to Kensington Palace. Prince Harry had been participating in talks with travel industry leaders back in 2017.
The first Travalyst partners include such high-profile industry names as Booking.com; Ctrip; Skyscanner, and TripAdvisor.
“Our world faces environmental challenges of unprecedented scope and scale,” the duke said when making the announcement, according to The New York Times. “From deforestation and the loss of biodiversity to ocean plastics and poaching, the problems can sometimes seem too big to fix. These human-caused challenges often need a giant system shift to make a significant enough impact.”
Travalyst joins a growing movement to make the travel industry more environmentally responsible and to make traveling more eco-conscious and sustainable.
To date that effort has included many high-profile brands, including hotels and tour operators, doing away with some of their single-use plastics, often plastic straws or toiletry bottles.
Still, other travel companies have notably attempted entire zero-waste travel itineraries.
In addition, a growing number of travelers are beginning to buy carbon offsets when flying, triggering some airlines to even begin offering the offsets during the booking process.
But much more will need to be done if the industry is to truly make an impact on the growing environmental issues around the planet.
As Responsible Travel has reported, the airline industry, in particular, is one of the fastest-growing contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions.
The duke and his wife even took flack recently for their contribution to the carbon emissions problem. The duo came under fire after taking a series of flights on private jets, which as The New York Times reported, have a greater relative carbon impact that commercial flights.
After the hubbub, it was noted that that the duke flew commercial to Amsterdam to make the announcement about Travalyst.
Prince Harry’s consortium will work to educate people about sustainable travel and overtourism, while also aiming to make it easier for people to understand whether their own travels are helping or hurting the planet. It will also work to make clear to travelers who is benefiting from travel dollars.
Prince Harry was joined at the announcement by leaders from some of his partner travel companies, including Booking.com’s chairwoman Gillian Tans.
“We want to make sustainability a priority across the entire travel experience,” said Tans. “Another goal is how to minimize the environmental footprint of travel, and the other goal is to protect and preserve local environments, welfare and cultural heritage and help to improve the welfare of local people for the longer term.”