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  –  protecting 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.

The final plan will be approved by both the Board of Directors of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau and the City Council in March 2019. View the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan here.

keeping-sedona-660x260Plan 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 served 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 included 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 hosted a public visioning session in Sedona in September.

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

These sessions were open to the public.

Here are some results to share:

Resident Survey Report

Business Survey Report

Visitor Survey Report

Survey Comparison Report

Sedona Focus Group Report

Strategic Destination Responses

The Sustainable Tourism Plan represented a community vision of tourism management that balances 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.

Listen to the KJZZ News report or check out the Sustainable Tourism Plan OLLI Presentation.

Comments or questions?
Email Chamber CEO Candace Carr Strauss

Additional Information:

Sign up for the Local eNews for Updates
ASU Center for Sustainable Tourism
Strategic Advisory Group