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. 

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We are excited to announce the launch of ‘Travalyst’, a global initiative striving to change the impact of tourism, for good. Partnering alongside key travel industry giants @Bookingcom, #Ctrip, @Skyscanner, @TripAdvisor and @Visa_US, our aim is to spark a movement to transform the future of travel, putting communities at the heart of the solution. We believe in the power and importance of travel. We also have a shared responsibility to our planet and to each other. • “I want to start with a little bit of background as to specifically why I’m here today, because as you may know, I am not a tourism or business expert, but through my travels I have observed the unique relationship between community and environment, and have noticed something alarming. There wasn’t the symbiosis or connection there needed to be and I wanted to understand why. I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems, in the hope of finding solutions…and that’s how Travalyst was born” - The Duke of Sussex The name #Travalyst comes from The Duke and partners viewing our role in sustainable travel as catalysts to accelerate positive changes in travel. Travel + catalyst = Travalyst #Travalyst aims to make travel more sustainable, to help protect destinations and benefit communities long into the future, and to enable consumers to make more environmental friendly choices whilst traveling. The Duke of Sussex, having invited the founding partners to start the conversation, believes that the organisations - with operations in nearly every country, hundreds of millions of customers that use their products every day, and business relationships around the world - have sufficient influence and the critical mass necessary to catalyse real system change in the travel industry, for the benefit of destinations, communities and ecosystems. To discover more about the new initiative, visit www.Travalyst.org

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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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