FY22 Destination Resiliency Plan sees Visitor Education Take Center Stage



July 30, 2021

oak creekI want to thank the Sedona City Council for their partnership and City Manager Karen Osburn for her guidance of a rigorous discussion that helped finalize the FY22 Destination Resiliency Plan, approved July 28.  As the area’s official Destination Management Organization, the chamber partners with the city on an annual tourism management program, guided by the Council-adopted Sustainable Tourism Plan and funded by a portion of the bed tax paid by Sedona hotel guests.

Economic Rebound and  Tourism Concerns Eliminate FY 22 Marketing

The chamber did not request and the Council did not allocate marketing funds in FY22’s  $2.1 million budget in the wake of our economic rebound. In the last year, Sedona’s tourism-led economic recovery saw record-breaking city tax revenues. Sedona will exceed anticipated FY21 revenues by approximately  60 percent while easily surpassing revenue collected in FY19, the last full pre-COVID fiscal year.

But during this astonishing recovery, Sedona saw a visitor new to the outdoors and uneducated about recreating respectfully. We see this trend nationwide, and all indications are that it will continue. In Sedona’s case, our primary visitor market of Phoenix is also the nation’s fastest growing metro area, meaning more new people on our doorstep every day. With or without a marketing budget, visitors need to be educated on interacting responsibly with our environment and neighborhoods.

Consumer Education and Chamber Community Action are Key

Education will be a chamber tourism focus as we promote the Sedona Cares Pledge and the Leave No Trace messages of individual environmental responsibility. We will mitigate trailhead impacts,  contracting for trash removal at Dry Creek and toilet facilities at Soldier’s Pass trailheads and convene discussions on how to mitigate OHV impacts to our quality of life and environment, to cite one example.  We will continue to lead on the challenges that threaten our prosperity and quality of life, including the corrosive impact of short term rentals, lack of affordable housing, workforce shortage, child care accessibility and more.

Arizona Makes Tourism-Related Economic Recovery Assistance

Recently, Governor Ducey announced $101.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to launch the Visit Arizona Initiative, bolstering the tourism industry, job creation and economic recovery. We are encouraging local businesses to apply for these grants in two areas.

First is the Outdoor Attractions Revitalization Program, which will improve trails and outdoor attractions that have an impact on local economies. As Sedona well knows, more visitation means heavier trail use. The Governor’s program will support permanent infrastructure improvements and sustainability programs.  We urge all our partners to consider their eligibility to apply.

Second  is the Governor’s Visit Arizona Partnership program.  Arizona competes with other states to host conferences, expositions, festivals, rodeos and other events. The Partnership Program will financially support these events, which in turn support local travel and hospitality jobs. Our constantly improving ability to host zero-waste events and work with sponsors on environmental stewardship (think the Mountain Bike Festival)  means Sedona is well-positioned to utilize the Governor’s program in alignment with our mission to develop a sustainable economy.

Get Ready for Community Pulse Return on August 25

We expect a busy year practicing the Three Cs of chamber leadership: catalyzing business development, convening leaders to find solutions to Sedona’s challenges, and championing a thriving community.

Get involved by attending the Community Pulse event sponsored by APS at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, August 25 from 8-10 a.m. You will hear from regional leaders on initiatives addressing our most pressing concerns. Space is limited, so register today at sedonachamber.com/chamber-events.

-Candace Carr Strauss,