Prince Harry Launches Travel Conservation Program Following Private Jet Criticism

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Prince Harry
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Prince Harry is supporting sustainable travel in the wake of his private jet drama.

On Tuesday, the 34-year-old Duke of Sussex launched an initiative called Travalyst, which is a new global partnership “aimed at improving conservation, environmental protection and expanding local community economic development by encouraging sustainable tourism practices across the travel industry,” according to a press release. 

Harry has partnered with top travel sites like Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, and Visa to come up with “solutions that will make travel more sustainable.” 

This comes in the wake of the criticism Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, received for their recent trips to Ibiza, Spain and the south of France via private jet -- despite their regular work with sustainability and conservation. 

Harry addressed the criticism when speaking with reporters on Tuesday following the announcement. 

“I spend 99 percent of my life traveling the world by commercial and occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family [is] safe,” he explained. "It’s generally as simple as that. But as I said in my speech, for me, what it is is about balance. And if I had to do that -- it’s not a decision that I would want to take -- but if I had to do that, I would ensure, as I have done previously and I will continue to make sure that I do, is to balance out that impact that I have. And I’ve always offset my CO2.”

Harry launched Travalyst in Amsterdam, Netherlands, joking that he had “definitely the best nights’ sleep I’ve had for the last four months.” 

The Duke and Duchess welcomed their first child, Archie, almost four months ago on May 6. 

Harry also expressed the urgency of his new initiative, saying, “After seeing and experiencing the degradation of a few of my favorite places, where natural assets are depleted and communities left feeling defeated, I knew something had to be done.” 

Several celebrities have come to Harry and Meghan’s defense in the wake of criticism surrounding their travel preferences. 

Gayle King, who attended Meghan’s New York City baby shower, spoke with ET about the couple, saying, “Harry and Meghan are entitled to go on vacation… Do you think the royals are flying commercial on a regular basis? I’ll go first. No. So why are Meghan and Harry being singled out? I just think people think that they are easy targets.” 

Elton John, a close family friend, hosted the new parents and paid for their private jet. He also defended them on Twitter, slamming the critics and expressing the importance of safety for Harry and his family following the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. 

Here's what the music icon had to say about the royals' jet drama:

 

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