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Prince Harry answers criticism of private jet use: 'We all have a responsibility'

The Duke of Sussex announced a new initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impact of global travel, while answering criticism over his use of a private jet.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince Harry has launched a new initiative aimed at reducing the environmental impact of global tourism.

The Duke of Sussex announced at an event in Amsterdam Tuesday that he has partnered with leading travel companies to create Travalyst, a global initiative "aimed at improving conservation, environmental protection and expanding local community economic development by encouraging sustainable tourism practices across the travel industry."

The new initiative comes after the environmentally conscious prince and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, faced criticism last month over the use of a private jet for a family vacation to music legend Elton John's home in France with their baby son, Archie.

John came to the couple's defense, writing in a Twitter thread that he paid for the jet and insisted that it be made carbon neutral by contributing to the organization Carbon Footprint to offset the emissions of the plane.

Harry, who traveled to Amsterdam on a commercial flight, also answered critics who believe his own travel habits are bad for the environment.

“While no one is perfect, we all have a responsibility for our own individual impact,” he said at the event. "The question is what we do to balance it out."

He added that when he does fly via private jet, it's to keep his family safe, echoing comments made by John when it came to the royal couple traveling to France.

"After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home,'' John tweeted. "To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight."

The new initiative partners with, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa to help provide more sustainable travel options in what has become a booming industry that generated $8.8 trillion across the world last year.

Harry also cited surveys by that indicate 71% of travelers want companies to offer more sustainable travel options.

Travalyst aims to work with companies, consumers and local communities in areas like protecting wildlife, combating climate change, limiting environmental damage, and helping local people in tourist hot spots alleviate the effects of over-tourism.

"As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide; and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population,'' Harry said in a news release. "Bringing companies, consumers and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations."