Travel companies are to use their platforms to help tourists make more sustainable choices when booking trips.
Travalyst is a bold new global initiative founded by Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa, with the ambition to change the impact of travel, for good. Launched in partnership with The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, Travalyst aims to protect the environment from rising international travel while allowing communities and travellers to benefit from tourism.
The number of people around the world taking international trips has more than doubled since 2000. Estimates suggest that by 2030, 1.8bn people will travel internationally.
Working with companies, consumers and communities, Travalyst will initially explore and promote solutions that help drive sustainable practices and consumer choices in areas including; supporting local people, protecting wildlife, tackling climate change and environmental damage, and alleviating over-tourism.
Travalyst will work together to create incentives for organisations and destinations to do right by the places, spaces, and animals that need protection, as well as making consumers aware of more “off-the-beaten-track” places to share the impact as well as the benefits with local communities.
Prince Harry said: “As it stands, in rural communities, especially in developing countries, the overwhelming majority of money spent by tourists leaks away before it can make a lasting impact. We have to change that.
“One thing I’ve learned … again and again, is that often times the best solution comes from within – from the local community members who live and breathe it every day.
“If conducted responsibly, tourism can benefit communities for generations. It can build schools, create jobs, strengthen safety nets – and it can create a virtuous cycle, as communities protect what promotes further tourism.
“Sustainability and economic stability, we believe, are two sides of the same coin. After all, healthy ecosystems are the lifeline for all of us.”
The global sustainable tourism market is predicted to grow by $340bn, 10%, within the next four years.
More than half of all travellers say they are more determined to make more sustainable travel choices this year than they were last year – but many do not know how, according to a Travalyst.
Barriers include a lack of knowledge, perceived extra costs and not enough availability or appealing options when trying to put this into practice. That being said, impact on the local community and environment is a primary consideration for many travellers globally.
In a survey by Booking.com, 71% of global travellers said that they think travel companies should offer more sustainable travel choices, and 68% of people said it was important the money they spent on travel went back into local communities.
Gillian Tans, Chairwoman of Booking.com, said: “Collaboration is the only path forward if we want to create a real paradigm shift in travel. We want to protect the destinations we all love and guarantee that they are happy and healthy for generations to come, but we can’t do it on our own. Even though we don’t have all the answers yet, we are determined to find them together.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com