The Duke of Sussex kicked off his final round of engagements as a senior Royal today while in Edinburgh, furthering the work of eco-travel firm, Travalyst. The engagement had not been announced ahead of schedule, like his other upcoming engagements were, but there had been talk of it happening.
Prince Harry was at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre to attend a working summit for the Travalyst partnership, his new eco-friendly travel firm which was launched in Amsterdam in September 2019.
Travalyst is a bold new global initiative which has brought together some of the travel industry’s biggest operators – Visa, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Trip.com and Skyscanner – with the ambition to change the impact of travel for good. Travalyst believes in the power and importance of travel and that we also have a shared responsibility to our planet and to each other; that is why they have come together as a catalyst for change, to help travellers pick low-carbon options more easily and chose destinations that will have more benefit to local communities.
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Today’s working summit involved around 100 representatives from the Scottish tourist industry and was designed to test some of the consortium’s early plans. Harry made some opening remarks, but the rest of the work carried out was behind closed doors – away from members of the media.
Practicing what he preaches, Harry traveled to Edinburgh last night on an eco-friendly LNER train. The company says its new trains are among the lowest carbon options for travel between London and Edinburgh.
The event was hosted by Ayesha Hazarika, a former Labour party advisor. It was her job to introduce the Duke to the waiting audience: “He’s made it clear that we are all just to call him Harry. So ladies and gentlemen, please give a big, warm, Scottish welcome to Harry.” A taste of what is to come after March 31st, it seems.
Harry took to the stage and gave a speech, saying how the travel industry in Scotland was at the forefront of making the sector greener, and that it could set an example for the rest of the UK and for the world; “Scotland is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations worldwide and it’s at the forefront of a more sustainable approach, which is why your insight into these issues is so incredibly valuable.”
“We want to hear truths and perspectives from across the industry. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, a lot of great work has already been done. But our research again shows that many of these endeavours have failed to reach the conscientiousness of consumers,” he told those present.
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The father-of-one also explained more about Travalyst, saying; “We believe travel is a good thing. It is the heart of human experience, of cultural connections, and of new friendships. It is a global powerhouse that employs hundreds of millions of people, keeping culture alive, protecting some of the world’s most precious spaces, and that introduces us to people, places and wildlife that we’ve only ever seen on a screen.”
“It is predicted that tourism will reach over 1.8 billion travellers by 2030. If we do not act, and in large part get ahead of this inevitable surge, this massive increase will mean we see more of the world’s beautiful destinations closed or destroyed, more communities becoming overwhelmed, more beaches shut because of pollution, and animals and wildlife driven from their natural habitat, which has a huge impact on communities and reduces tourism opportunities,” Harry said.
“But we are here to find ways to make sure that does not happen. We have to work together to scale up the good practices already being used around the world.”
Harry will be out and about again on Friday, when he joins Bon Jovi at Abbey Road Studios in London. That is followed by a busy week of engagements for both himself and Meghan before they say farewell to life as a senior Royals and embark on their own independent path forward.