We Want Your Input on Traffic

July 6, 2018


cathedral-stargazing-glowing-1200x500During a fantastic Fourth of July holiday, many people told me how excited they are that Sedona is defining a new direction in tourism’s future.  I agree we are off to a good start in examining how we manage our most significant industry so that Sedona’s visitor-driven economy balances with our treasured quality of life.

And there is more good news.  This summer, ASU researchers are tuning in to community voices as they prepare Sedona’s first Sustainable Tourism Plan.  This is a real opportunity for anyone who wants to add to the conversation.

A little background:  sustainability is a growing trend in tourism. For highly-visited communities such as ours, sustainability means placing Sedona’s quality of life, natural environment and unique character at the heart of the visitor experience.  For visitors, it means striving to have only a positive impact – supporting the local economy and respecting local culture and expectations.

ASU’s Center for Sustainable Tourism in the School of Community Resources and Development has been working on a Sustainable Tourism Plan for nine months, under an agreement with the City of Sedona and the Chamber.  Researchers are now at the community input phase, which will last until mid-August.

You may have heard about a mailed survey the university recently sent to 1,000 randomly-selected Sedona homeowners using the most recent property tax records from the two counties.  This carefully-designed approach will produce a statistically valid cross-section of community ideas for mitigating tourism’s impacts, among other topics.

If you were invited to participate, I hope you expressed your thoughts. ASU will be re-mailing the surveys just after the 4th of July holiday, so if you misplaced yours, another is on the way.  If you already completed it, you can disregard the second mailing.

There are other input opportunities, too.  ASU researchers are busy conducting focus groups with natural resource agencies and non-profits and surveying Sedona-based businesses.  Since January, they have been surveying visitors too. Finally, in early August, the project team will host an open-to-the-public Visioning Session, an exciting format where everyone is welcome to learn about research findings and discuss ideas and solutions for inclusion in the Plan.   The date and location of the Visioning Session are still being worked out.

Naturally, not everyone who wants to attend will be able to make it, so for a week after the public session, researchers will monitor a special email address where anyone can send comments and ideas.

This range of community expression –  mailed surveys, focus groups, business surveys, a community-wide public meeting and emailed comments –  will be reflected in the Plan’s recommended strategies for Sedona’s sustainable tourism future. The result, expected in October, will represent a first-ever community vision that integrates tourism management with our economy, local culture and environment. No wonder people are excited!

I will be talking about the Tourism Bureau’s new approach at our first Community Pulse event July 10 at the Sedona Rouge Resort and Spa at 2250 SR 89A.  Community Pulse is a free, open-to-the-public presentation and discussion.  Sedona City Manager Justin Clifton will be there to discuss the upcoming Home Rule election and City Engineer Andy Dickey will review the Sedona in Motion transportation plan.  The event gets started with a free continental breakfast at 8:00 a.m.  Learn more at sedonachamber.com.  See you there!

–Jennifer Wesselhoff

Listen to what Michelle Conway says about Tourism: