Harry to host sustainable tourism summit in Edinburgh

The Duke of Sussex is to carry out his first public event in the UK since announcing his decision to give up royal duties – hosting a summit for his sustainable tourism project Travalyst.

The conference will allow Harry and his Travalyst team to stress-test new ideas with the travel industry, including creating an online scoring system to show the eco-friendly status of aviation, accommodation and holiday experiences.

Harry will travel to Edinburgh next Wednesday for the event, the start of a busy 13-day period for the royal and his wife which will also see the duke meet 80s rock star Jon Bon Jovi who is recording a single in aid of the Invictus Games Foundation.

When the duke launched Travalyst last autumn in Amsterdam, he defended his use of private planes, saying he spent “99% of my life” using commercial flights but occasionally needed to ensure “my family are safe”.

At the time Harry and Meghan faced mounting criticism after reportedly taking four private jet journeys in 11 days during the summer, apparently at odds with their views on supporting the environment.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit to Canada House
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex faced criticism over their use of private planes (Yui Mok/PA)

Travalyst was founded by the duke together with leading brands – Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa – and the partnership has invited around 100 people from the tourist and travel industry in Scotland to join the working summit.

A spokesman for the organisation said: “Our ambition is to transform travel and tourism so that every holiday people take, every trip they book, will have a positive impact and better protect the destinations and communities they visit.

“Whether it is through the activities people do, where they stay, or how they get there, we are looking for ways to make it easier for everyone to choose, and for the industry to provide, more purposeful and sustainable options.”

The duke and duchess’s lives as working royals will end on March 31 when they stop representing the Queen and become financially independent.

Harry and Megan will embark on a new chapter in North America but sources have stressed they “will be in the United Kingdom regularly” and retain the same charitable goals supporting causes from the Commonwealth to mental health.

The couple plunged the royal family into a period of crisis when they announced earlier in the year they wanted to step back from their positions as senior royals and become financially independent.

A summit of senior royals was convened by the Queen at Sandringham to discuss the issue, with Harry sitting down for talks with his grandmother, father the Prince of Wales and brother the Duke of Cambridge.

It was later announced they would no longer be working members of the monarchy, split their time between Canada and the UK, with the majority spent in North America, and no longer be known as HRH.

The remaining issue is how will the couple earn an income without being accused of trading on their position as members of the royal family, and who will pay for their round-the-clock security.

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