LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry has urged the travel industry to “reset and reimagine” its future after the crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on creating a more sustainable model which does less damage to the environment and local communities.
Travel firms and airlines have been badly hit by the pandemic, which has put a stop of much of the global tourism business, while those who rely on visitors have also suffered.
Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, said the travel, said the “acute hardship” of communities in tourist destinations had shown the importance of travel, but had also highlighted the need to reduce its detrimental impact.
“We know that to not travel again is not an option,” the prince, 36, said in a foreword to the annual report of Travalyst, an initiative he launched in 2019 with the objective of making the travel industry more sustainable.
“Right before us, there is an opportunity to do things differently, to do things better. Travel and tourism are no exception. As the industry re-emerges from crisis, there is an urgent need to reset and reimagine.”
Harry, like his father, the heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, is a vocal champion of environmental causes, said it had been clear before the pandemic the industry had not done enough to tackle issues such as climate change and pollution.
The prince has previously come under fire himself for advocating more environmentally-aware travel while using private jets. But he says he only rarely does not use commercial aircraft, and took action to offset the carbon dioxide emissions caused by his trips.
Travalyst, an independent non-profit body which is backed by some major tourism industry companies including Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Visa, said the industry needed universal transparency on its sustainability efforts, and to champion the success of local communities, destinations and operators.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by William James)