The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Budget, Explained

By President & CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff

With Council approval of a $2.17 million Tourism Bureau budget, people are curious about how the Chamber & Visitor’s Bureau budget works. I’m happy to explain!

Visitors, Not Sedona Residents, pay for the Tourism Budget

The Tourism Bureau is a division of the Chamber of Commerce.  Its budget comes from the City bed tax, which is paid by guests staying at lodging facilities in the city.

•    As a Sedona resident, you do NOT pay this tax unless you stay at a hotel within the city limits.
•    The bed tax – and the Tourism Bureau budget – is designed to be paid by Sedona’s visitors, not residents.
•    The Tourism Bureau receives 55 percent of the bed tax.
•    Forty-five percent goes to the City’s General Fund, helping pay for services such as law enforcement and keeping our taxes lower.

Member Businesses, Not Sedona Residents, pay for the Chamber of Commerce budget

The Chamber of Commerce function is funded entirely by fees paid by local businesses and organizations that belong to the Chamber.

There is no tax money involved in the Chamber functions, and Chamber employees are not public employees.

As you can see, the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau are two distinct functions with different funding sources, neither of which are paid for by a tax on Sedona residents.

Chamber & Tourism Bureau Manages Tourism at the Direction of Many

The Chamber is the official Destination Management & Marketing Organization for the Sedona area, accredited through Destinations International.  Destination Marketing Organizations are typically funded through bed taxes.

•    Since the Sedona Chamber began more than 65 years ago, we have managed Sedona’s tourism, attracting visitors during off-peak seasons and mid week.
•    We get input from businesses, organizations, affinity groups, non-profits, land managers and residents as we develop our Destination Services Plan each year
•    The City Council reviews and approves the final tourism budget as well as the annual Destination Services and Marketing Plan.

This Year, the Tourism Bureau Declined a Budget increase

•    Due to a rise in bed tax revenue, the Tourism Bureau’s FY19 allocation was scheduled to increase by $268,900.
•    We agreed to use this increase to help pay for Sedona in Motion transportation improvements instead of additional tourism programs.

The Budget Reflects New Priorities of Preservation, Quality of Life, Stewardship

For the last three years, priorities have shifted as the community addresses traffic and other challenges to our quality of life.

•    Like many Sedonans, we recognize a need to preserve Sedona’s unique character while keeping the economy stable.
•    This year’s budget features reinvestment and sustainable approaches that prioritize our priceless natural and cultural heritage.
•    Working together, we will create a Sedona offering residents and visitors alike better-managed traffic, a well-preserved environment, and a more memorable experience.

These charts offer a breakdown of the FY19 Tourism Bureau budget. You can read the complete budget memo here.

You can learn more about how our budget works by joining  Chamber Board members and me for an open ‘Coffee Chat’ Monday morning at 9 a.m. at our Chamber Administrative Office, 45 Sunset Drive, beginning July 9. And be sure to opt-in to our Tuesday morning Local e-News!

-Jennifer Wesselhoff