The New York-based PR firm will specifically help with Travalyst, the partnership which has the Duke and Duchess of Sussex teamed up with leaders in the travel industry to promote eco-friendly tourism

By Stephanie Petit
September 03, 2019 04:59 PM

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are turning to an American public relations firm as they announce the first initiative of their new independent foundation.

The royal couple have hired Sunshine Sachs to help with Sussex Royal The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the charitable initiative they launched following their split from the foundation they previously shared with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The New York-based PR firm is helping with Travalyst, the partnership which has the Duke of Sussex teamed up with leaders in the travel industry to promote eco-friendly tourism that the prince announced on Tuesday at an event in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Sarah Latham, Hillary Clinton‘s former campaign advisor, will continue in her role as head of their communications team and handle Meghan and Harry’s personal matters.

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Harry, 34, and Meghan, 38, had previously been part of Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s shared foundation, but they two couples started to take “divergent paths” in their charity work and needed to reflect that in different outlets.

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The separate foundations, which was described as a “natural progression,” a source previously told PEOPLE, follows the royal couples’ decision in April to separate their joint “court” at Kensington Palace by creating two offices, or households.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Harry said Tuesday that Travalyst (which comes from a combination of the words “travel” and “catalyst”) “is a first-of-its-kind coalition, a united front of businesses dedicated to making travel an engine for sustainability.” It has been “created to mobilise the travel industry as a catalyst for good, aiming to transform the future of travel for everyone,” Harry’s office says.

The Duke of Sussex was inspired by his own travels and his work with the Queen’s Canopy (which helps preserve valuable forests) and Africa Parks.

Prince Harry
Press Association via AP Images

In many emerging economies, only 5% of the money spent by tourists goes back into the local community. Harry wants to make “sure that we change the system in a way to make it more effective for destinations and local communities can thrive,” says a royal charity source.

The new project teams together Booking.com, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor and Visa to work with Harry’s foundation to influence the way the world travels. The partners “are really enthusiastic,” says the source. “They are committed and the partnership may expand.”

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They are initially focusing on three areas: helping communities benefit more locally from visitors; educating people about sustainable travel; and working with the travel companies to make it easier for people to make a sustainable choice.

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