The Prince of Wales has urged the travel industry to help “redouble efforts” to reduce damage on tropical rainforests around the world.

In a video address to delegates at the ABTA Travel Convention in Gran Canaria, His Royal Highness said the industry is in a unique position to intervene and assist global projects to protect regions currently under threat.

He also pleaded with the industry to join his programme – the Rainforests Project – alongside powerful groups such as the World Bank and the European Union to help halt the destruction of the rainforests.

The Prince of Wales said: “The travel sector, probably better than most industries, understands that there can be no secure long term economic growth if the environment continues to be degraded, and that the only sustainable business strategy is to become a low carbon and resource-efficient business.”

He also urged the sector to “forge the new partnerships and initiatives that will help you to build a truly sustainable travel industry – one that continues to provide social, cultural and economic benefits, but in ways that reflect the wider responsibilities of all companies and institutions in our fast changing world”.

The Prince of Wales praised ABTA for its leadership with the Reduce My Footprint campaign and creation of The Travel Foundation.

However he said that the “greatest paradox” of modern travel is that if “we are not very careful it can threaten those wonders of the world that inspired people to travel in the first place”.