Prince Harry delivered the opening speech at the Travalyst virtual global summit on Thursday (30.07.20).
Speaking via video link from Tyler Perry’s Los Angeles home -where he has been living with his wife Duchess Meghan, 38, and son Archie, 14 months, since quitting as a senior royal earlier this year – Harry urged the travel industry to support sustainable tourism and "build back better" after the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his first public appearance since excerpts of biography, ‘Finding Freedom’, which details the rift between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the Royal Family, were released, Harry 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. And that means there’s a responsibility, 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.
"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."
Harry launched Travalyst last year with brands including Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa, and it operates as an independent non-profit based in the UK.
A message from Harry on the company’s website states: "The global pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, and in the process destinations and communities who rely on travel and tourism for their livelihoods are facing a challenging and uncertain reality. Meanwhile, we must remember that the growth of tourism was on an unsustainable trajectory. As the travel and tourism industry begins to recover, we want to learn from those who are keeping communities and sustainability at the heart of what they are doing to build back better."