Sedona Rocks During Earth Month as Sustainability Takes Center Stage



April 23, 2021

paulfolkphoto-instagram-1127-ig-17942085097447627We Sedonans have upped our sustainability game. More than 100 businesses are now certified as sustainable and their individual stories are amazing. I’m proud to announce the chamber is the newest member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, joining destinations around the world committed to sustainable tourism.  Coming soon: an update on Sedona’s Sustainability Plan progress. I think you will be impressed.

Traffic: City Can Show Progress and Solid Plans

The recent increase in traffic, trash, and in some areas, noise and dust is getting noticed. On traffic, the City’s Sedona-In-Motion projects include the already-completed 89A  improvements Uptown (with the Forest Road connector on the way), with parking, multi-modal public transit and consumer technology projects all in the works. Sedona Transit Manager Robert Weber is making plans to reduce single-occupancy vehicle traffic and cut down on trailhead parking congestion.

These commitments take time, but the 89A Uptown project shows what planning and patience can accomplish.

In-State Visitors Top the 50% Mark as Targeted Marketing Remains Offline

In 2020, the percentage of Sedona visitors originating in Arizona jumped to 53%  from 2019’s 41 percent.  The big increase is not due to advertising; Sedona has simply been a known-quantity quick getaway for cooped-up urbanites, mainly from the Phoenix area.  They filled the spending vacuum left by our locked-down out-of-state travelers and the economy rebounded, but they showed  little awareness of environmental preservation behaviors.  Increased trash is one of the results.

It’s time to reexamine our strategy to attract out of state travelers, flattening our off-peak periods and reaching out to travelers who stay longer, spend more, and seek meaning and connection in their post-COVID journeys. For them, Sedona is not a day trip; it is an inspiring experience and environmental stewardship is part of who they are. We refer to them as ‘high value visitors’ or HVVs.

Keeping Sedona at the Top of HVV Minds

Discerning travelers have options, so we must resume activity in our competitive out-of-state markets, promoting sustainability as an attractive feature and a traveler responsibility. We must continue walking the walk, of course, engraining sustainability into our everyday business and personal lives.  See some of the simple things you can do to make a big difference at

Have you Noticed?  Events are Back!

Next week, I will talk about tourism’s immense benefits to Sedona as we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week. I’ll end today on a different celebratory note: public events in Sedona are back!  Here are just a few activities you’ll want to attend:

Cinco de Mayo at Tlaquepaque  May 1, 11- 5 p.m.  Costumed folklorico and flamenco dancers plus roaming mariachis, galleries and restaurants, kids’ activities and free shuttle service from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints.

Volunteer with Oak Creek Watershed Council  May 4   Stand up for Oak Creek and join this clean-up event. Get a clean-up kit, PPE, and training on restoring littered areas. Bring a friend!

Red Rock Rumble 5-Mile Run May 22 8 a.m. Sedona’s newest trail race at Posse Grounds Park. Registration information at

Virtual Networking  May 5   4 p.m.  For chamber members, make new contacts and grow your business from your home or office. A popular regular chamber feature. to register.

Illuminate Film Festival  May 20-26  While awaiting June’s return of SIFF,  check out ILLUMINATE’s festival of conscious cinema dedicated to enlightened, transformative ideas. walk-and-talk-250x200

See more here.  For more, go to and click “Events” under the Menu tab.

Finally, join me on my next Walk and Talk May 5 at 4 p.m. at the Western Gateway. The 3-mile loop goes from the Girdner Trail to Remnant to Roundabout. Hope to see you there!

-Candace Carr Strauss,