The Future of Tourism: Prince Harry Sparks a New Buzzword for Travel
In July, Prince Harry attended a global summit to discuss how the industry can rebuild tourism for a more sustainable and balanced future. Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images
The travel industry is full of buzzwords: “sustainable,” “transformative,” “experiential” and, in the current reality, “safety” and “trust.”
But according to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, there’s another travel buzzword to add to the mix: “Regenerative.”
“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,” The Duke of Sussex said during a virtual global summit in July hosted by Travalyst — his global tourism initiative launched in September 2019 — to discuss how the industry can rebuild tourism for a more sustainable and balanced future.
“Meanwhile, we must remember that the growth of tourism was on an unsustainable trajectory,” he added. “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.”
In mid-September, Skyscanner, one of Travalyst’s co-founding members revealed research showing that sustainable travel concerns are no longer top of mind for many travellers — accompanied by perspective from the company’s and other tourism and psychology experts and The Duke of Sussex. But, it states, as destinations previously suffering from over-tourism begin to re-open, the sector has a unique opportunity to redesign old travel patterns for the benefit of local communities, the environment and tourists alike.
“We have an opportunity now, a defining moment in time, to decide what the future of tourism and travel will look like,” Prince Harry said. “As the sector recovers we need to make sure tourism supports everyone fairly, to protect destinations, better support local communities, and help them become truly resilient.”
He continued, adding that many destinations have been under immense pressure for years, with local communities struggling to cope with the effects of over-tourism and local habitats and wildlife suffering irreparable damage.
But it’s this observation by Prince Harry that really stuck. “Recovery is vital for the security and prosperity of millions of communities, but recovery cannot just mean a return to the way things used to be. Travel can and should be a catalyst for good. It can be sustainable, ethical — and even regenerative,” he said.
In the future, there could and should be a rise in conscious travel, with consideration for sustaining communities and regenerating the environment.
“It’s our collective responsibility to ensure that the industry that is reborn out of this pandemic is one that gives back more than it takes away.”
The overriding message from the House of Sussex? A future where the impact of travel and tourism is thought of holistically, for both people and planet. “A new shape of travel is within our grasp – we must seize the opportunity.” And a message worth regenerating.