(Controversial?) New Initiative Lunched by Prince Harry Today
When I first read the new Instagram post today by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about their new initiative "Travalyst" aimed at sustainable tourism, with their post showing photos of at least one place I have travelled to, my immediate thoughts were:
- They are going to get a lot of negative press given the recent condemnation on their private jet use,
- Sustainable tourism sounds like something only rich people can afford - what about the person who earns minimal income and can only afford a cheap holiday maybe once a year?
- I like taking holidays (a lot) so I am going to have to feel bad about it now?
- Who is Harry to tell others what they should and should not allow to happen in their own countries, especially when these countries rely heavily on tourism for their economy?
I was not sure I was even going to hit 'like' as is my normal practice. So I waited. I decided to read more about the initiative. I watched the whole 15 minute speech that Harry gave today in Amsterdam to try and better understand where he was coming from, and actually, I can live with the aims of the new initiative and actually think they are not bad ideas. If anything Travalyst seems to be a commercial version of the work already being done by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.
Harry and Megan's new foundation, Sussex Royal will be linking with companies such as VISA, booking.com, TripAdvisor, Ctrip, and Skyscanner to work with people in local communities to see what they need to make tourism more sustainable for their own communities. So the aim is not to impose anything on a particular community but to enhance conservation work already being done and see how they can support economic development through tourism but in a sustainable way. So really a no brainer!
Listen to the whole speech. Key phrases that tell me this is an OK initiative are:
"Maximizing opportunities (for economic development in communities) whilst minimizing the damage to the environment."
"Consumers wanting to know that their tourism is having a positive impact on the places that they visit."
"Local communities know what they need to survive - the communities will take the lead."