Planning for More Progress in Sedona



January 24, 2020

Some dramatic clouds and light from the setting sun on Catherdral Rock in Sedona Arizona.The City Council/Chamber of Commerce annual meeting this month was an opportunity to review progress since the Council approved a new direction in tourism management last year.

With the Council’s input, the Chamber is working with city staff to lead a coalition of groups balancing our quality of life, economy, the environment, and the experience we offer visitors, who represent our economic foundation.

In coming weeks, I will be talking about these advances in more detail, but among the updates presented at the retreat were:

. The 50 restaurants participating in Straw Free Sedona have eliminated one million plastic straws from Sedona’s waste stream. The water refill stations at Posse Grounds Park, Sunset Park and the Visitor Center have saved 24,000 plastic bottles.

., an aid to reducing vehicle travel, is even more valuable today. You will find live information on parking availability, up-to-the-minute traffic displays, locations of water refill and bike repair stations, suggested walking routes and more. The turn on/turn off format won’t clutter the map on your screen. Check it out on your smartphone while out and about!

Expanding voluntourism is one of the essential steps we will take together in 2020. Voluntourism helps make Sedona better by inviting visitors to participate in activities such as creek cleanups and trail maintenance outings. A roadway litter-elimination day or creating a regular time slot for visitor volunteers at a nonprofit agency are other examples. Any organized event that improves Sedona while bringing residents and visitors together can be a voluntourism project.

Travelers are increasingly responsive to voluntourism because more and more seek “temporary localhood” as part of their travel experience. They wish to see their destination as a local person does while giving back to a place that, in Sedona’s case, they find profoundly moving.

For residents, it means getting involved in projects that improve Sedona while helping visitors get to know us. For businesses and nonprofits, it is about organizing and supporting events that help keep Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit.

Many organizations are already making 2020 voluntourism plans, but as we know, individual initiative is one of our values. If you volunteer at a social service agency, get a conversation going about a voluntourism event that will help your cause – an animal shelter cleanup or a fundraising picnic for a women’s shelter, for example. Together, you can make something beautiful happen!

For business owners, talk with your employees about their ideas. You may come up with an event that connects to your business or something unrelated that resonates with you and your staff.

Then, promote your event on our voluntourism page at where you will find posting instructions and eligibility requirements. Don’t forget to let your friends, customers, neighbors, colleagues and other volunteers know!

Voluntourism is one way Sedona is showing how a balanced tourism economy that embraces lifestyle, heritage, values and environment can happen. I hope to see you at a voluntourism event this year!

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO