STP Progress



August 28, 2020

sky-ranch-lodge-viewDespite the ongoing disruption of COVID-19, Sedona is moving ahead on our sustainability commitment, stabilizing our interrelated economic base, visitor experience, natural environment and quality of life.

The Chamber, The City of Sedona, the ASU School of Sustainability and the Nichols Tourism Group facilitated a process that involved more than 1,000 people, including visitors. Last year, the Council unanimously approved the result – Arizona’s first Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP).

You may be one of the hundreds of Sedonans who spoke out during public meetings and focus groups, or responded surveys, or weighed in during City Council meetings. But that was just the start. With more than 60 specific tactics to accomplish, the community groups, governments and nonprofits who enlisted for the Plan they needed persistence and collaboration.

And they have delivered.

In the first full fiscal year of the STP, there are too many specifics to list here. However, it’s essential Sedonans know the broad outlines of our progress so far. Here is a partial progress report. While you review, think about where we are now compared to when the Plan was approved last year, despite the havoc of COVID-19.

Fly Friendly: In June, helicopter tour operators agreed to cease overflights within Sedona’s city limits and over neighborhoods, sensitive prehistoric sites and resorts outside the city limits. The Fly Friendly agreement respects the contributions tour companies make to our economy and the desire of visitors for a spectacular experience. It’s an example of balancing the economy, environment, quality of life and visitor experience.

Transportation Improvements: The City completed Uptown traffic improvements this summer, making vehicle and pedestrian flow more efficient, easing congestion, and contributing to Uptown’s aesthetic appeal. Although this Sedona in Motion project was planned before the STP process, the Plan emphasized the completion of the project plus investment in public transit, parking and traffic reduction strategies.

Sustainability Certification: Low water use, energy conservation, recycling and using local products are hallmarks of sustainable business operations. Dozens of Sedona businesses and government offices have achieved sustainability certificates since the STP was approved, as determined by the Sustainability Alliance. Read their stories at

Recycle by City: Are paper towels recyclable? This popular website quizzes Sedonans and provides a free one-page recycle guide to post on refrigerators and near blue barrels. More than 1500 local consumers took part in its first eight weeks. A Chamber partnership with Recycle by City, you will find a link to the quiz at (No, paper towels are not recyclable).

We can’t sign off this week without a shout out to our four local winners in the USA Today Readers’ Choice Top 10 awards:

> The Verde Valley ranks among the Top 10 Best Wine Regions
> Enchantment Resort is a Top 10 Best Romantic Hotel
> Mii Amo rated as a Top 10 Best Wellness Resort/Retreat
> L’Auberge de Sedona is on the list as a Top 10 Best Pet-Friendly Hotel

The win for the Verde Valley adds to its image as a destination, a win for sustainability. Having a visitor attraction right next door supports the STP strategy of dispersal, easing pressure on overcrowded local trailheads and scenic vistas.

Congratulations to all. Even in these tough times, Sedona shines!

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO