Building a Standard for Sustainable Tourism

November 8, 2019, 10:00 AM UTC

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Good morning, Eamon Barrett here, filling in for Alan. Today’s CEO Daily is a crossover episode.

On Tuesdays I write a Fortune newsletter on sustainability in business called The Loop where, this week, I focused on revolutions in air travel. Today, here at the Fortune Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou, Alan interviewed chairwoman Gillian Tans on stage, and discussed, among other things, the future of sustainable tourism. So the theme continues.

“Let’s go back to the mission of,” Tans said during the forum’s opening session today. “The mission is really to help people experience the world. Very early on, when we defined this mission, we said we also need to make sure we make the world a place where generations to come can keep exploring the world.”

Tans says the demand for sustainable tourism is there—71% of consumers surveyed by the travel company said they want eco-friendly options—but, as is often the problem with promoting “sustainable” products, there’s no real standard on what that means.

Here, is leading the charge. In September the travel site teamed up with the charity organization run by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—better known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—to launch Travalyst.

Travalyst—a portmanteau of travel and catalyst—is a platform dedicated to promoting eco-tourism, that brings together the world’s leading online travel agents (OTAs) including Ctrip, Tripadvisor and

Together, the group should be able to forge some consensus on sustainable travel. However, Travalyst has been criticized for offering few details on how the group will actually promote sustainability. Alan pointed out on stage that air travel is responsible for the majority of tourism-related carbon emissions and can’t do much to stop that.

“There’s a lot happening in air travel,” Tans said. “But for Booking that would be more complicated [to manage] because we don’t operate airplanes.” For now, Tans is more focused on developing’s A.I. capabilities, which will help streamline customer service and take the hassle out of travel.

You can catch up on all of the Global Tech Forum through Fortune’s online coverage of the event here. Alan returns Monday.

More below.

Eamon Barrett


Peck Out

Gap CEO Art Peck has quit after four years in the role. The reason has not been made clear, but his interim successor is board member Robert Fisher, who praised Peck-led advances in the company such as "expanding the omnichannel customer experience and building our digital capabilities." Business Insider

Bloomberg In?

Michael Bloomberg has reportedly almost changed his mind about joining the 2020 Democratic-nominee race, and is maybe—or maybe not—preparing his entry into the fray. The billionaire is said to be concerned that the current field of candidates is "not well positioned" to defeat President Trump. Wall Street Journal

China Trade

China's exports and imports fell last month, but less than expected—exports down 0.9% year-on-year rather than 3.9%, and imports down 6.4% rather than 8.9%. Still, economists expect Chinese exports to continue to suffer from "subdued global growth." CNBC

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco's IPO bankers are trying to tempt investors with the possibility of bonus payouts, beyond the $75 billion minimum annual dividend pledge for the next five years. The additional payouts are contingent on higher oil prices, rising free cash flow and borrowing. However, the head of Japan's largest refiner says Japanese companies will likely shun the IPO because of Aramco's lack of transparency. Financial Times


Recession Watch

The likelihood of a U.S. recession has decreased in recent months, according to Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist Torsten Slok, who pointed to a steepening of the yield curve. The New York Fed yesterday put the probability of a recession at 29%, down from 40% in the weeks following the curve's inversion in August. Fox Business

Trump Settlement

President Trump has been ordered to pay $2 million over unlawful coordination between his foundation and 2016 presidential campaign. The cash will go to a collection of nonprofits as part of a settlement with the New York state attorney general's office, over Trump's breaching of his fiduciary duty to the foundation—he apparently allowed his campaign to use money from a foundation fundraiser. However, the New York state judge that ordered the payment did not ban Trump nor his kids from serving on the boards of other New York nonprofits. CNN

Billionaires' Wealth

Geopolitical turmoil and volatile equity markets led the world's richest people to become a little less rich last year, for the first time in a decade. A UBS/PwC report found that the world's 2,150-ish billionaires' wealth fell by $388 billion, leaving them with $8.539 trillion (or roughly 2.37% of the world's total wealth.) Reuters

Google Contractors

More than half of Google's workers are temps, vendor or contract staff (known as TVCs) who are expected to act as representatives for Google but don't actually work for the firm. What's that like? As their calls for greater benefits or unionization show, additional responsibilities often don't translate to additional pay—and being a TVC is no longer the path to employment at Google that some hoped it was. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. 

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