Prince Harry continues to lead Travalyst after leaving his royal leadership positions. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images)
Prince Harry has urged people to view travel as an obligation post the coronavirus pandemic but says there is an opportunity to do better.
36-year-old Harry wrote in the foreword to the latest Travalyst report, the sustainable tourism initiative he launched as a senior king, saying it was vital for people to help support the industry.
With the holidays banned by governments around the world and very limited travel to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the industry has suffered a major blow in the last year.
The Duke of Sussex wrote: “We know that not traveling again is not an option. It is our job – it is our obligation – to support recovery and find the right path forward. A way in which we can re-explore our world and broaden our horizons while the natural environment and wildlife thrive and communities are supported.
“That is what we mean by sustainability in tourism and what we strive for as Travalyst.”
Prince Harry started his partnership between Booking.com, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor and Visa under the name “Travalyst” in 2019 in Amsterdam. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images)
He added, “At Travalyst, we believe in the value of travel – by connecting with others, exploring the world, and learning new cultures and communities to raise our awareness.
“However, we know that where the demand for travel and tourism has grown exponentially, harmful environmental and social impacts have occurred.
“Even before the pandemic, it was clear that the industry had not yet addressed some of its key sustainability challenges: climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity.
“As the industry emerges from the crisis again, there is an urgent need to reset and redefine it.”
Watch: Prince Harry ‘broken heart’ by royal rift
The report explores the different options available to the tourism industry in rebuilding post-pandemic and suggests that now is the “right time to act” as the pandemic has “acted as a catalyst for travelers to rethink its own impact” .
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Harry said the lack of travel in some areas over the past year “temporarily disrupted destructive and dense human activity,” but on the other hand “millions of people have experienced or experienced unemployment, communities that regularly come alive with visitors are silent.” Businesses that make a living from welcoming others have been networked, and valuable environmental and animal welfare programs are struggling to continue with the decline in vital tourism income. “
Harry added, “Together we have a responsibility – and an opportunity – to rebuild for a more sustainable and just future. One that our world needs, that our children deserve, and where generations not yet born can continue to explore and enjoy the beauty and benefits of this common home. “
Prince Harry had long been interested in environmental issues but was criticized when Travalyst launched for having used private jets several times in the months prior to launch.
However, he said he only used them for the safety of his family.
The Duke of Sussex during a Sustainable Tourism Summit in Edinburgh in 2020, one of his final roles before stepping down as Senior Royal. (Andrew Milligan / PA Pictures)
Harry now lives in California with his wife Meghan Markle and their one-year-old son Archie.
Travalyst is a partnership of travel companies such as Booking.com, Skyscanner and TripAdvisor, who are committed to promoting sustainability in tourism.
The organization says its goals are to protect wildlife, ensure local communities benefit directly from tourism in their area, and protect the environment, eliminate single-use plastics, and offset the carbon impact of flights.
Travalyst was founded within Sussex Royal but is now part of the work Harry will do outside of the Royal Family.
The Royal Foundation, currently run by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, made grants to Travalyst, which the anti-monarchy group Republic grappled with last summer, and asked the Charity Commission to investigate.
Harry hit backHis legal team said, “Travalyst (incorporated within Sussex Royal) is a non-profit organization for which the Duke receives no commercial or financial gain, as is the case with all of his charitable obligations. The Duke has never had a personal financial interest in his charitable work. The interest was always clear: supporting others and making a positive difference. “
Watch: Duke of Sussex was introduced as Harry during the Travalyst conference