SCC&TB made significant achievements throughout 2022
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
December 23, 2022
A quick glance in 2022’s rearview mirror reveals how far we have come and how much has changed in the last 12 months.
At Christmas last year, the word “omicron” seemed to be everywhere. Christmas Eve flight cancellations, mask mandates and quarantines affected millions. Fortunately, the threat faded, and by February, the Sedona International Film Festival was back in full swing, with in-person screenings, attracting thousands of film buffs and boosting our midwinter economy. 2023’s Sedona International Film Festival will be even better with a full slate of films and the new second screen at the Alice Gill-Sheldon Theatre along with the Mary D. Fisher Theatre as part of the viewing mix.
During the year, the following events made a significant contribution to Sedona.
• In March, the first International Women’s Day Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock took place, where we honored women leaders during the sold-out event. At that time, the Chamber launched a fundraising drive to improve the cemetery and gravesite of Sedona Schnebly, our city’s namesake. The 2023 IWD luncheon at Poco Diablo on March 8 will introduce new honorees and benefit the Helen Wolfe Scholarship fund.
• A spring survey showed that most Chamber partners [77% of respondents] say their business is related to tourism. 87% support promoting Sedona as a sustainable destination, 56% strongly. Wide majorities believe reaching out to the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Las Vegas markets is crucial for our economic balance.
• We emceed the March launch of the city of Sedona trailhead shuttle, which takes visitors to five trailheads from two park-and-ride lots. The free service alleviates neighborhood parking issues near the trailheads and eases street congestion. The shuttle has recorded tens of thousands of boarding’s in its first nine months.
• Trail Keepers 2.0 exceeded expectations as 52 Chamber partner businesses pledged $1,000 each to help maintain and repair the trail system in the national forest surrounding Sedona. The program contributed $102,000 to boost the USFS maintenance budget and underwrite the costs of providing Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund volunteers.
• New leadership brought fresh energy and focus to our board of directors this year. Jennifer Perry of the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona was sworn in as Chair this summer. Stan Kantowski, Managing Director of The Enchantment and Mii Amo Spa, is our secretary. Mike Wise of Berkshire Hathaway Home Service is our new treasurer. Additionally, I was appointed President/CEO in June and was also selected to the Board of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association in Phoenix, joining Stan Kantowski and Chamber Board member Lonnie Lillie.
• We continue adapting to changing economic and travel conditions in consultation with the city council. Our in-market education campaigns responded to increased numbers of unplanned-for day trippers and related trash and congestion issues. Today, signs of economic weakening require a fresh look at our council-approved management strategies. We will discuss new approaches when we meet with the council next month.
• We were delighted to co-sponsor forums this summer and fall with council and mayoral candidates, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Northern Arizona.
• Our July community shred-a-thon with Elevated Shredding sent 4,000 pounds of paper products directly to a paper mill, saving 760 gallons of oil, 8,000 kilowatts of energy, 34 trees, and 14,000 gallons of water. That’s sustainable action!
• Our Annual Meeting featured economic policy consultant Jim Rounds and his excellent insights on Arizona’s tourism economy. Rounds showed how tourists import money to Arizona and spend it here, stabilizing the business cycle during economic contractions, which we may see soon.
• In October, we saluted our priceless volunteers, who guide our visitors on dining and lodging, trailhead shuttle use, Leave No Trace principles, alternative tourism sites around the Verde Valley and more.
• John Reass is our highly deserving Volunteer of the Year.
Finally, from all of us at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau and our 730+ partners, thank you for being part of what makes Sedona special! Please accept our warmest holiday greetings and our very best wishes for 2023.
–Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau