Prince Harry launches sustainable travel initiative with global brands
Our founder, Georgina Wilson-Powell, was at the launch of the sustainable travel intiative Travalyst, a ground-breaking partnership between HRH Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, and some of the biggest names in travel including Skyscanner, Booking.com and Visa.
Thu 5 Sept 2019
Travel is a funny old game. We all want to tick places off our bucket list, but there's a growing realisation that our holidays are harming other destinations, communities and eco-systems. While no-one wants to tell anyone not to travel - or fly - because, hey, everyone deserves a holiday and the mind-expanding experiences travel brings, there's got to be a way to do it that doesn't add to our planet's woes.
Which right now it does. Plane travel is expanding and heating up our planet with its crippling CO2 emissions, overtourism is a huge issue for cities like Prague and Amsterdam and the smaller sustainable travel players, from conservation groups to indvidual eco-lodges aren't getting the recognition and coverage they deserve (which is one of the reasons I started pebble magazine).
The launch of Travalyst hopes to change some or all of that, using data, investment, AI and technical innovation to tackle everything from using more biofuels in less emmission heavy planes to diverting the hoardes of experience hungry tourists to secondary and tertiary destinations and promoting and investing in community projects that protect and promote our unique wildlife and landscapes.
Launched by HRH The Duke of Sussex in Amsterdam on Monday, Prince Harry joined the CEOs of Skyscanner, Visa, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and C-Trip by commiting to a three year programme of actions aimed at changing mass market travel.
They recognise, that most ravellers want to travel ethically, but the information isn't easy or convienient and it's confusing to say the least, trying to work out who is really doing good, and who is after a quick buck.
According to Booking.com:
71% of us want companies to show us more sustainable options
68% of us want our holiday spending to stay local
61% of us value and want locally lead,authentic experiences.
SkyScanner's CEO Bryan Dove said: We need to increase our levels of trust with consumers, with a consistent global change so that that we're helping consumers to make sustainable choices more easily."
It's not about not travelling, it's about travelling differently, they pledged. Demand redirection, not demand reduction.
This is the first time that such global brands with millions and millions of mass market travellers have drawn a line in the sand and pledged to make impactful changes so that we have a world to explore to leave for future generations.
Each brand has pledged to use their global platform to produce local results by harnessing the huge powers of investment, data, AI and technical innovation they have at their disposal.
While the biggest actions are yet to be decided, there are programmes already happening, from Visa's investment into micro-financing female entrepreneurs in Africa to Skyscanner's staff flying only on bio-fuel planes or taking the train to TripAdvisors' Wildlife Programme but hopefully what you'll start to see over the next three years is all more communication about new projects, more encouragement of sustainable options at every budget level and co-ordinated efforts to seriously change how we book, travel and enjoy our holidays.
What do you think? What do you think needs to change the most so more people choose a sustainable holiday and have less impact? Head over to this Instagram post talking about the launch and tell us what you think!