Renegades write the rules



July 21, 2023


SCC&TB's team at GCOT in TucsonTourism in Arizona is back on track, according to Arizona Governor, Katie Hobbs.

Hobbs kicked off the annual Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism (GCOT) on July 10, congratulating attendees for their dedication to the state, saying, “You created millions of jobs, generated billions in earnings and helped put our state back on track.”

“You have also helped create memories for millions of people from across the world – memories that will last their entire lives— you can’t put a price on that,” Hobbs stated. “Thank you to everyone for your dedication and service to our state. I am proud to work alongside people who appreciate and understand the potential we have to be one of the top destinations in the entire world.”

 Hobbs is a proponent of tourism and most recently signed a letter of intent to collaborate on joint strategies with Mexico, on June 22. Mexico is Arizona’s largest trading partner and largest source of international visitors and was a topic of discussion during GCOT.

The three-day conference, held at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, featured an amazing line-up of expert speakers, discussed top-of-mind topics in the travel industry and provided networking opportunities with leaders, innovators and service providers.

This year’s conference, “Destination Inspiration” gave my team at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau the opportunity to meet travel professionals and destination marketers, listen to their peers, learn from expert panelists and discover cutting-edge products and services.

During the conference, we also heard from Arizona’s aviation industry about the influx of visitors to the state, and how the airports experienced the highest travel days during the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open Golf Tournament brought in billions of dollars in revenue. International travel is increasing post-COVID-19 and we learned how AI is affecting the travel industry.

We were inspired by nationally acclaimed N.Y. Times best-selling author, Amy Jo Martin, who spoke about her book, “Renegades Write the Rules.” Martin is also the Founder & CEO, Speaker, host of the acclaimed Why Not Now? Podcast, an educator and an investor.

Martin discussed how to take action on your own “Why Not Now?” ideas in both business and in life.

In light of the SCC&TB separation from the city of Sedona a few months ago, Martin’s keynote address hit close to home with her message. I immediately realized that the SCC&TB’s team is a bunch of Renegades, and we are rewriting the rules of our future at the Chamber.

Martin’s words inspired us. We have been taking action in developing new programs, reinventing ourselves, creating new innovative ideas for our members and focusing on reiterating our guiding principles.

Martin suggests that, “Doing things differently makes people uncomfortable, for various reasons. Some people are afraid of change, being vulnerable and the unknown. They grow accustomed to the way things have always been done and are hesitant to explore new ideas. I call these things “innovation allergies,” she said. “Luckily, my clients have been willing to experiment and color outside the lines, without crossing the line. They understood early on that when trying a new approach, adversity and healthy tension will always follow. The key is to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

 So, while the question of “Why Not Now?” is a fleeting thought, our goal at the Chamber is to try new approaches in spite of adversity. By doing so, we can deliver more value to our members, become more involved, more adventurous and more innovative — all while unleashing our inner renegade towards a new future.


Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau