Where policy, people and place come together to create community



September 17, 2021


A gorgeous Red Rock Country autumn is upon us! For the chamber, it is filled with convening community leaders and residents of greater Sedona to champion solutions presented by the growth of our region as a destination and as a community.

Our conversations will begin around Short-Term Rentals (STRs) which impact everyone. When correctly managed, STRs can be a benefit to both the visitor economy and homeowners, but the state of Arizona’s refusal to allow municipalities to regulate them has disrupted entire communities, none more so than ours. There are currently 1,323 registered STRs in greater Sedona, the equivalent of roughly 2,500 rooms yet made available without sufficient parking, security, public safety, trash removal, employee housing or payment in lieu of, which traditional hotels are required to provide. This industry is taking employees from hotels while turning our neighborhoods into hosts for businesses that accommodate guests without oversight.

On September 22 we will co-convene an STR expert presentation and community dialogue with the Sedona Lodging Council that includes key staff from the city of Sedona. We will address fact and fiction related to our ability to manage STRs. The event at Yavapai College Sedona Center is free, but registration is required at SedonaLodgingCouncil.com.

On September 23 we will co-host the Northern Arizona Lodging Industry Forecast with the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association at The Enchantment Resort. Our visitor-based economy operates in a competitive global environment, and COVID or not, people around the world are on the move. This event will address travel trends for the year ahead, as well as STRs impacts on the hotel industry.

This morning, I’m hosting the chamber’s quarterly Nonprofit Leadership Roundtable, a forum for our 130+ nonprofit partners from Sedona and the Verde Valley to share resources and best practices, made possible by the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona. Nonprofits like the Food Bank, Keep Sedona Beautiful, Hope House of Sedona, Habitat for Humanity work regionally to fill the gaps where private and public resources fall short. We hope to amplify our voices on issues such as housing, environmental preservation, and community capacity building.

Tomorrow, our team will participate in IPW in Las Vegas, an annual event organized by the US Travel Association, where I serve on the Board of Directors. IPW brings the world to America, bringing US travel destinations together with international and domestic travel buyers and journalists representing more than 70 countries. These buyers specialize in group travel, which is valuable to Sedona for many reasons. Groups visit via bus or shuttle without adding to traffic, can be educated about Sedona and our fragile environment collectively, spend more than average travelers during their bucket list trips, and are more likely to disperse regionally, visiting the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, or points of interest throughout the Verde Valley.

Greater Sedona may be cooling off with fall weather, but the chamber is heating up, providing catalytic leadership where policy, people and place come together to create community. We are united by our vision of a Sedona that balances a vital tourism economy with environmental stewardship and quality of life for residents of Sedona and the Verde Valley. With incredible community leaders and the power of public, private and nonprofit partnerships, our future is as bright as the autumn sky.

-Candace Carr Strauss,