People Magazine
September 03, 2019 12:33 pm

Prince Harry is speaking out about the controversy surrounding his recent travel. The royal dad attended an event in Amsterdam on September 3rd, where he addressed the criticism over his use of private jets for summer vacations with wife Meghan Markle and baby Archie to visit Ibiza and Elton John’s villa in the south of France.

Harry arrived on Monday—on a scheduled commercial flight—and joked at the beginning of his speech, “Having spent last night here—I don’t know about you guys but it was definitely the best nights’ sleep I’ve had for the last four months!”

Later, in a Q&A session, the prince went further when asked about taking private travel.

WPA Pool/Pool, Getty Images

The royal’s Amsterdam appearance launched a new partnership with leading players in the travel industry. Called Travalyst, Harry said it “is a first-of-its-kind coalition, a united front of businesses dedicated to making travel an engine for sustainability.” It has been “created to mobilise the travel industry as a catalyst for good, aiming to transform the future of travel for everyone,” Harry’s office says.

The Duke of Sussex, 34, was inspired by his own travels and his work with the Queen’s Canopy (which helps preserve valuable forests) and Africa Parks.

In many emerging economies, only 5% of the money spent by tourists goes back into the local community. Harry wants to make “sure that we change the system in a way to make it more effective for destinations and local communities can thrive,” says a royal charity source.

The new project teams together Booking.com, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor and Visa to work with Harry’s foundation to influence the way the world travels.

The partners “are really enthusiastic,” says the source. “They are committed and the partnership may expand.”

Harry’s partnership follows a two-year process that began in Harry’s private office before migrating to the Royal Foundation that he once shared with Prince William and Kate Middleton. It will soon be part of his new charity vehicle with Meghan to become the first major project of Sussex Royal Foundation—though is being supported by the original foundation until they are up and running.

They are initially focusing on three areas: Helping communities benefit more locally from visitors; educating people about sustainable travel; and working with the travel companies to make it easier for people to make a sustainable choice.

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