Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, is spearheading a global initiative to make the travel industry more sustainable, backed by some of the sector’s biggest brands.
Launched in Amsterdam this morning, Travalyst is described as a “bold new partnership” that will enable people to travel and explore the world in a more sustainable manner.
UK internet giant Skyscanner joined its parent company Ctrip, as well as Booking.com, TripAdvisor and payments firm Visa in supporting Travalyst from the outset.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex said: “Travel has 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.
“As tourism inevitably grows, it is crucially 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.”
Bryan Dove, chief executive of Skyscanner, said: “Global travel is a modern-day gift, bringing together cultures and communities across our planet.
“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.”
Travalyst will work with companies, consumers, and communities to explore solutions to increase the adoption of sustainable practices in areas including supporting local people, protecting wildlife, tackling climate change, environmental damage and addressing co-called “over-tourism”.
The founding partners said they want to “spark a movement of like-minded companies, organisations, NGOs, and changemakers to transform the future of travel into a more sustainable one”.
It says there is growing demand among travellers for more sustainable options and it wants to help companies in the sector to meet that demand.
Further details of initiative that Travalyst will launched were promised in due course.
Booking.com chair Gillian Tans, said: “The commitment from these different brands to work together and help build a global network of like-minded social entrepreneurs NGOs and policymakers is truly inspiring.
“Collaboration is the only path forward if we want to create a real paradigm shift in travel. 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. Even though we don’t have all the answers yet, we are determined to find them together.”
Stephen Kaufer, chief executive of TripAdvisor, added: “We all have a responsibility to try and protect our precious planet and communities for generations to come.
“I truly believe more can be achieved by joining together than going alone, which is why we’re excited to be part of Travalyst as we collectively seek out ways to make a positive impact on the future of travel.”
The scale of the travel industry, and also of the challenge to make it sustainable, was set out at the launch of Travalyst today.
The initiative cited UNWTO and WTTC figures that show the number of people globally who take trips annuals has doubled since 2000 and last year the total number hit 1.4 billion.
Travel and tourism generates $8.8 trillion for the global economy and one in 10 jobs are said to be related to travel.
Projections suggest that the number of people travelling annually will hit 1.8 billion by 2030 and in 10 years the UNWTO predicts the number of tourists visiting emerging markets will hit 1 billion annually.
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