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:
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.
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.
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?
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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