Worldwide: HRH The Duke of Sussex has joined forces with TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner and Visa to launch Travalyst, a global partnership which advocates sustainable practices across the travel industry.
The alliance was announced this week in Amsterdam with the aforementioned firms named as the founding partners of Travalyst and further companies and non-government groups set to follow suit according to Skift.
It follows criticism being levelled at Prince Harry, who is spearheading the initiative, for a stint of flying on back-to-back private jet flights, despite being a vocal campaigner for combatting climate change and lowering carbon emissions.
The Duke is being reported to have tried to reach out to his contacts around the world in the travel industry to pull in consumers for the programme.
The founding partners of Travalyst will be responsible for addressing industry practices and consumer choices, as well as promoting collaborative initiatives for protecting wildlife, tackling climate change and countering overtourism.
A TripAdvisor spokesperson has told Skift that the initiative is seeking to simplify the booking procedures for more sustainable travel choices easier and to reward the travel companies who offer them.
Consumer demand is likely to have been an influence for Travalyst’s launch and the combined power of the founding partners will play a part in encouraging sustainable travel and accommodation choices for consumers. Skyscanner for example already has its own ‘eco’ feature, which flags itineraries and flights that have lower carbon emissions and has been utilised by around ten million travellers in the past year.
The Duke of Sussex said: “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. Bringing companies, consumers and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations.”
The founding partners will be relying on Prince Harry’s status and name to bring even more of the world’s large-scale travel players to the ranks of the Travalyst.
More information on Travalyst can be found at its website here, while further details of the new sustainable travel initiative are expected to be announced in due course.
In the press conference on Tuesday in Amsterdam, business leaders from all of the travel industry players spoke of their plans moving forward for Travalyst.
Booking.com chairwoman 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,” she added.
Ctrip CEO Jane Sun said: “Travel is a powerful means of bringing us closer – to share the beauty of our countries and our myriad cultures, to find our common humanity. But with travel comes the duty to protect our fragile planet.
“That’s why we are working with the brightest minds to ensure that generations to come can follow in our footsteps sustainably and the world and its people can grow together,” she added.
Skyscanner CEO Bryan Dove 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,” he added.
TripAdvisor president and CEO, Stephen Kaufer, said: “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.”
Visa chairman and CEO, Al Kelly, said: “Enabling global travel and commerce through digital payments is one of many ways Visa connects and empowers individuals, businesses and economies every day.
“We are dedicated to doing so in a way that supports our commitment to sustainability. We are proud to be part of this initiative to support long-term economic growth through tourism,” he added.