PRINCE Harry has urged the coronavirus-ravaged travel industry to “build back better” in the first interview since a bombshell book lifted the lid on his split from the royal family.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, who is worth around £30million, said young people were interested in greener travel before the pandemic – and added that it is “future” of tourism.
Harry’s comments come as the travel industry desperately tries to survive after being rocked by Covid-19, with thousands of staff members already losing their jobs.
He said “businesses are hurting significantly” with some “struggling to put on the table”.
However, he insisted the air industry needs to “build back better” in a “responsible” way – focusing around greener ways of travelling.
The duke made the comments in the opening speech at a virtual global summit for his sustainable tourism project Travalyst.
His speech came after claims were published at the weekend about his life, including allegations that he was angered by what he perceived to be his brother the Duke of Cambridge’s “snobbish” attitude towards Meghan.
In the book Finding Freedom, serialised by the Times and the Sunday Times, the authors claimed relations between the Sussexes and the Cambridges grew so bitter that by March the couples were barely speaking.
The duke, who now lives in Los Angeles with Meghan and their son Archie after the couple stepped down as working royals, said in his opening speech: “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.”
Harry launched Travalyst last autumn, co-founding it with leading brands Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa, and it now operates as an independent non-profit organisation based in the UK.
Speaking on video-link, the duke went on to say: “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.”