An Arizona First: Sedona Unveils Sustainable Tourism Plan
Famed red rock destination responds to the challenges of being “loved to death”
In early May, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau announced a revolutionary change in how tourism is managed in one of America’s premier travel destinations. The Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan responds to the challenges posed by high tourism numbers with actions ranging from environmental stewardship of Sedona’s famous red rocks to reducing noise, traffic congestion and overcrowding at popular locations. The Plan is the result of 18 months of planning by thousands of residents, community groups and visitors.
Sedona’s 10,000 residents see an average of three million visitors a year. A study by Yavapai College states tourism has an annual economic impact of roughly $1 billion and supports 10,000 area jobs, said Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff. “We feel challenged by issues such as traffic and overcrowding while at the same time valuing the economic benefit.”
The four pillars of the Sustainable Tourism Plan focus on balancing and enhancing residential quality of life, protecting our fragile lands, creating memorable visitor experiences and growing a strong economy.
“It is all about balance,” Wesselhoff said. “By applying sustainability principles to our economy, our quality of life and our visitor experience, we keep tourism strong while assuring Sedona will always be “The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.’”
Other initiatives will lessen light and noise pollution; increase recycling, water and energy conservation; and improve sustainable business practices at Sedona's hotels and hospitality businesses.
The Plan was spearheaded by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau and approved by the City of Sedona City Council. Implementation is funded by a portion of the City’s bed tax.