Sussex Royal, Prince Harry’s new charitable foundation, has launched Travalyst, an initiative to promote sustainable travel. The global project is a collaboration between, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa, who will work to improve conservation efforts, protect the environment and help improve the economies of communities that depend upon the tourist industry.

At the launch of Travalyst in Amsterdam this last week, Harry said the project was in part inspired by a seven-year-old boy he met while visiting the Caribbean, who told him: “Because of your country, my country’s coral reef is dying.”


The initiative has been in the works for the past two years, though it made headlines this week after the prince was criticized for his use of private jets. Some viewed his sponsorship as hypocritical since private jets leave an enormous carbon footprint. Harry indirectly acknowledged the criticism by saying, “We cannot dismiss the idea of doing something just because we cannot do everything. We can all do better, and while no one is perfect, we all have a responsibility for our own individual impact. The question is what we do to balance it out.”

The five companies involved will make further announcements regarding the specifics of the initiative within the next 18 months. However, the partnership will address the growing demand to make travel more sustainable, while enhancing local communities, the environment and wildlife.

TripAdvisor has recently supported the Five Freedoms developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council and applied to tourism by ABTA – The Travel Association in the Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, which seeks to improve the standard of care for animals worldwide. Meanwhile, is working with local communities to promote homestays and promote sustainable travel startups through its Booking Booster program.

In addition, Skyscanner has implemented “eco ratings” on its listings that encourage greener travel choices and Visa will conduct research into the viability of sustainable travel through its database of 3.3bn customers worldwide. The companies are also expected to work with NGOs, travel organizations and corporate partners to urge participation in the initiative.

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One issue that must still be tackled is flying since airplanes account for roughly 2.5% of global carbon dioxide production. Therefore, promoting sustainable tourism must go hand in hand with encouraging fewer flights since, for the time being, new technologies like biofuels or electric planes still require years of development and safety testing. One option for now is to promote carbon offsetting, which means reducing your carbon footprint elsewhere if you fly often. In the end, sustainable tourism isn’t just the responsibility of travel providers but of all of us.