The Duke of Sussex has said those who, like him, can “harness a platform to help” must play a role in rebuilding the tourism industry to save the planet.
The Duke, speaking at the opening of an online travel conference, said “we all have a role to play” in ensuring the sector can “build back better”, creating “authentic travel experiences” that will protect communities and the environment.
In his first appearance since the publication of extracts of a new biography purporting to tell the Sussexes’ “side of the story”, the Duke gave the first speech of a virtual summit for his newest project Travalyst.
In it, he said there the post-Covid-19 world would require “a responsibility we cannot avoid or dismiss, for us to reshape this industry in a way that benefits everyone and everything for decades to come”.
“As we approach the work ahead, let us not forget that our humanity is defined as much by what makes us unique: our cultures, beliefs, experiences, and the environments around us; as it is by our shared values: our desire to make our communities better, our compassion for our friends, our family, and neighbours, and our hope for each of us to be safe and healthy, prosperous and happy,” he told delegates.
“It is in how we honor and cultivate this balance—between the unique and the shared—that we build mutual respect, foster empathy, and advance economic progress in a way that is just, to each other and the world around us.
“In this, we all have a role to play; especially those of us who can harness a platform to help.”
Speaking via videolink from Los Angeles, he said: “Many of you joining us today rely on visitors for your livelihoods. “Businesses are hurting significantly, and I’ve heard from some of you who are currently struggling to put food on your family’s tables and make ends meet because there are no tourists and therefore no income.
“We need to build back – but we need to build back better.”
He added: “Before the pandemic unfolded we witnessed more and more young people expressing an interest in authentic travel experiences and an ability to partake in trips that are greener, that allow them to support local communities, uphold heritage and protect destinations and cultures.
“This is the future of travel, and a future that Travalyst is here to support and catalyse.”
The Duke of Sussex has addressed a virtual global summit for his sustainable tourism project ‘Travalyst’ via video link from his home in Los Angeles.
— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) July 30, 2020
His words echo those of his father, the Prince of Wales, who has launched a “Great Reset” project for the post-pandemic global economy.
The subject of sustainable tourism is the latest passion project for the Duke who, with the Duchess, has closed his Sussex Royal foundation and will be relaunching “non-profit organisation” Archewell in America.
The Duke launched Travalyst last autumn, co-founding it with leading brands Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa. It is described as a “non-profit organisation” and is registered as a private limited company in the UK.
It was funded in part with £144,901 from the Royal Foundation, with a further £248,000 granted by the Sussex Royal Foundation, which has now formally wound up.