Prince Harry launches eco-friendly travel initiative after criticism over private jet travel

Key Points
  • Prince Harry announced the launch of “Travalyst” on Tuesday, an initiative created to ensure international travel is sustainable.
  • Travalyst was founded in partnership with Booking.com, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, Visa and Ctrip.
  • The launch comes after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle faced criticism from the media over their use of private jets.
Britain's Prince Harry speaks at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, Britain May 6, 2019.
Steve Parsons | Pool | Reuters

Prince Harry has partnered with big-name travel firms to launch a new initiative dedicated to sustainable travel.

Launched in partnership with Booking.com, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, Visa and China's Ctrip, Travalyst's aim is to protect the environment from rising international travel while allowing communities and travelers to benefit from tourism.

The founding partners will use their platforms to help tourists make more sustainable choices when booking trips. These include making more environment friendly decisions such as tips on offsetting carbon emissions as well as working with local communities at tourist destinations. Travalyst will also work to educate the public on how tourism can contribute to climate change and environmental damage, according to media reports.

The Duke of Sussex announced Travalyst's launch on Instagram Tuesday, just weeks after he and wife Meghan Markle were widely criticized for using private jets despite campaigning for environmental causes.

"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," Prince Harry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"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," he added on Travalyst's website.

Travalyst notes on its webpage that the number of people taking international trips each year has more than doubled since 2000, with 1.8 billion people expected to travel internationally by the year 2030.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism industry contributed $8.8 trillion to the world economy last year.

Travalyst emphasizes that it wants travel practices to be overhauled so they become more sustainable — but the organization doesn't want to slow international tourism down.

"We want to protect the destinations we all love and guarantee that they are happy and healthy for generations to come, but we can't do it on our own," Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com, said on Travalyst's website.

"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," Bryan Dove, CEO of Skyscanner said in a statement.

Toward the end of August, singer Elton John came to the defense of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after the couple were criticized by British media for their use of private jets. John claimed he ensured their flight on his aircraft was carbon neutral by making a donation to an organization which offsets carbon emissions through projects like reforestation.

The couple had been accused of hypocrisy for choosing to travel by private jet after calling for action on climate change.