Weeks after being lampooned by critics for perceived eco-hypocrisy, Prince Harry is addressing the private jet controversy that landed the house of Sussex in hot water. And not only that but, in response, the Duke also announced his partnership in a new travel initiative aimed at encouraging more sustainable tourism. Do you hear that, haters? Harry heard your complaints, and he’s trying to counter the imbalance.
Fresh off of his surprisingly controversial summer break, Harry returned to his royal duties on Tuesday morning. His first big stop? Amsterdam, where he announced his sustainable travel partnership, Travalyst. During his speech, Harry spoke to the negative reaction surrounding his family using private jets for vacations in Ibiza and the South of France (the latter at Elton John’s Mediterranean villa). “We can all do better. And while no one is perfect, we are all responsible for our own individual impact; the question is what we do to balance it out,” he said.
During a Q&Q session after his speech, Harry — who flew commercial to the event — offered more insight into his decision to fly by private jet over the summer. “I spend 99 percent of my life traveling the world by commercial,” he pointed out, adding, “Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe and it’s genuinely as simple as that.”
WATCH: “I spend 99% of my life travelling the world by commercial [aircraft]” Prince Harry says at the end of the ecotourism launch when asked about his own travel behaviour. He adds he always offsets all his travel ✈️ pic.twitter.com/1xXvBiXsC4
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) September 3, 2019
Here’s where Harry’s countermeasures come into play, though. “For me, what it is is about balance, and if I have to do that [fly via private jet]… then I will ensure, as I have done previously and I will continue to make sure that I do, it’s to balance out that impact that I have. I have always offset my CO2… there are so many people out there who hear about it, who don’t know about it. In my mind, it’s the right thing to do,” he explained.
Which brings us to Travalyst. The initiative was created “to mobilize the travel industry as a catalyst for good, aiming to transform the future of travel for everyone.” The gist of this travel coalition is to put more of the money spent by tourists in emerging economies goes back into the local community (currently, only five percent does). By bringing together major travel players like Booking.com, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor, Visa and Harry’s own foundation, the Duke hopes to cultivate more interest and awareness in sustainable travel.