Sustainable Tourism: Finding the Balance


A partnership with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, City of Sedona, Nichols Tourism Group and ASU’s Center for Sustainable Tourism


‘Sustainable Tourism’ is a long-range tourism management strategy that helps highly-visited destinations such as Sedona achieve balance  –  preserving our natural beauty, community character and livability while maintaining a vital economy.

As a result of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s formal sustainability assessment of Sedona (full report here), in September 2017,  the Chamber and the City of Sedona entered into a contract with Nichols Tourism Group and the ASU’s Center for Sustainable Tourism (the  Study Team) to develop the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan.

Plan Elements

The Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan helps Sedona balance three critical elements:

Environment:  Preserving our natural environment, historic buildings and heritage sites is essential. The Sustainable Tourism Plan will identify ways to heighten visitor awareness and reduce visitor impacts.

Socio-cultural:  Increased tourism has been accompanied by traffic congestion, overcrowding and rising housing costs. The Plan will help Sedona address these concerns while continuing to benefit from a strong tourism-driven economy.

Economic:  Tourism provides thousands of jobs and most of the cost of basic services such as public safety, street maintenance, flood control, community parks and cultural activities.  The Sustainable Tourism Plan will offer strategies for keeping the economy robust without compromising our quality of life.

A diverse team of Sedona-area residents from government, the arts, environmental groups, media, the health, lodging, and hospitality industries and natural resource management agencies serve as an advisory group to ASU.

Public Input

Since October, 2017, the study team has been evaluating Sedona’s tourism industry and preliminarily identifying sustainable tourism practices that will work best for our community.

Gathering public opinion is an important part of the study, and includes a random-sample mail survey of 1,000 Sedona residents in June 2018.

ASU has also surveyed and facilitated focus groups with:
•    Visitors to Sedona
•    Businesses and organizations reliant on or impacted by tourism
•    Public agencies such as governments, nonprofits and natural resource managers

Public Visioning Sessions in September 2018

An essential part of Sustainable Tourism is creating a plan that is informed by the perspective of residents who live and work in and around Sedona.

In addition to the June mail survey of Sedona residents, the study team will host a public visioning session in Sedona in September.

At the session, the study team will present preliminary findings of its research and surveys, and ask for ideas to act on these findings.

These sessions are open to the public.

Results in Fall 2018

The Sustainable Tourism Plan will represent a community vision of tourism management that will balance our thriving tourism economy and tourism’s impact on traffic, the natural environment and our sense of community.

Consistent with the tenets of sustainable tourism, residents can expect:
•    Recommendations on transportation alternatives
•    Recommendations on marketing strategies
•    Ideas on managing visitors during peak seasons to minimize the impact on our quality of life
•    Ideas on visitor education to raise awareness of Sedona’s sensitive environment and our unique status as one of the world’s most beautiful places.

Please read the City of Sedona’s Transportation Master Plan.

Comments or questions?
Email Chamber CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff

Additional Information:

ASU School of Sustainability
Time Line Chart
Strategic Advisory Group