Travalyst - Sustainable Travel Will Come at a Cost

As you may have seen, Prince Harry has launched a new organisation called Travalyst at a symposium in Amsterdam. Partnering with leading brands in the industry, including Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Skyscanner, Ctrip, and Visa, the stated aim is:

Improving conservation, environmental protection and expanding local community economic development by encouraging sustainable tourism practices across the travel industry.

Here's the Instagram announcement of the project:

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Today, during the launch event of the new global initiative ‘Travalyst’, The Duke of Sussex shared his remarks on the exciting new initiative from Amsterdam. #Travalyst, an initiative led by The Duke and founded by Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa, sees a pressing need for increased collaboration to make sustainability a priority across our entire travel experience - and we believe that collective, collaborative action will be critical to achieve this. The travel and tourism sector is constantly growing and contributes a significant impact to the world we live in today. The Duke sees it as one of the worlds biggest problems but believes this partnership can make it one its greatest solutions: • - 1.8 Billion trips will be made annually by 2030, and since 2000, the number of trips taken around the world has more than doubled - 71% of global travellers think travel companies should offer more sustainable options - $8.8 Trillion was generated to the global economy from travel and tourism last year - 57% of all international trips by 2030 will include emerging market destinations We plan to work closely with local communities and providers, leveraging technology to help scale sustainable supply to meet the growing mass-market demand from consumers - ultimately, making sustainable travel options of all kinds easier for consumers to identify, book and enjoy. To discover more about the new initiative, visit www.Travalyst.org Photo ©️ SussexRoyal

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The project has been in the works for two years, and is the first to fall under the umbrella of the Sussex Royal foundation. Worryingly though, the aim doesn't appear to be to encourage people to travel less, but to help travellers make more environmentally friendly choices in their travel.

A beautiful sunset in the city of love : Venice
Venice, which recently banned large cruise ships as a result of overtourism. Photo by @canmandawe / Unsplash

However, as someone speaking on the problems of overtourism later this month, I can't help but feel that this only goes half way. The travel industry should be taking a more conservationist mindset, looking at how to protect areas from the ever-increasing burdens of tourism. More action, like the banning of large cruise ships from Venice, is what is going to ultimately make an impact.

Oia, Santorini at sunset
Santorini, which has an increasingly skewed local economy thanks to overtourism. Photo by Jonathan Gallegos / Unsplash

Certainly it isn't fair that not everyone will be able to travel as cheaply, if we're going to do a better job of preserving the destinations everyone wants to visit. But can somewhere like Mallorca, which has seen tourist numbers numbers grow from 6 to 10 million in the last ten years, or Greece, which has seen numbers grow from 15 to 32 million, really survive as anything more than a shell of themselves if we let tourist numbers continue to rise unabated?

The Summit
Everest, which now has to have litter collected from it. Photo by Michael Clarke / Unsplash

So yes, Travalyst is a good idea, and I applaud the Prince for his stand. However, I hope he'll be engaging far more broadly with the destination marketing community, to create lasting, long term change, before many of the world's most beautiful places disappear.

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