Sustainable Tourism Plan | Visit Sedona

Sustainable Tourism Plan

Welcome to The Most Beautiful Place on Earth!

Sedona’s stunningly beautiful Red Rock formations, mild climate, abundant sunshine, clean air, small-town charm, and welcoming attitude draws nature lovers, artists and spiritual seekers from everywhere.

Situated at the mouth of spectacular Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona is, in the words of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, “…equal or superior to many national parks.”

Conde Nast Traveler and New York Times rate Sedona as a top destination.  Almost all our three million annual visitors say they have an excellent experience and plan to return.

Sedona’s visitors are part of our lifestyle, contributing 77% of sales tax revenue and supporting approximately 10,000 local jobs.  Tourism’s annual economic impact is more than a billion dollars, making it the area’s most significant industry.

However, in recent years, Sedonans have grown concerned about being ‘loved to death’ due to increased traffic congestion, overcrowding and unease about environmental impacts.

A Community Responds

Thousands of caring Sedonans embraced sustainable tourism in an extraordinary 18-month community conversation in 2018-19. We united behind a plan that balances our small-town quality of life, unique natural environment and bustling tourism economy.

Visitors and locals contributed through surveys, intercept interviews, public meetings, online forums, and focus groups.  Input from nonprofits, US Forest Service managers, government officials and business leaders rounded out the collaborative process.  

Coordinated by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, the Sedona City Council, the Arizona State University Center for Sustainable Tourism and the Nichols Tourism Group, the Plan was unanimously approved by the Sedona City Council in March 2019.

The Plan

The Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan identifies four pillars upon which we are building a balanced, sustainable future:

We are holding ourselves accountable for implementation by designating community groups, nonprofits and government agencies to meet the Plan’s objectives, timelines and performance metrics.  

Results

Despite the disruption of COVID-19, Sedona never stopped moving forward on our sustainability commitment.

Fly Friendly:  In 2020, helicopter tours operators ceased 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 the tour companies make to our economy and the desire of visitors for a spectacular experience. It’s all about balance.

Transportation Improvements:  In 2020, the City of Sedona completed Uptown traffic improvements, making vehicle and pedestrian flow more efficient, easing congestion, and contributing to the area’s aesthetic appeal.  You will see a new southbound lane out of Oak Creek Canyon, roundabouts that eliminate U turns and give access to new off-street parking, and a median with locally designed artwork that prevents mid-block pedestrian crossing and left-hand turns. Like Fly Friendly, the Uptown Improvements address all four pillars of sustainability.

Sustainability Certification:  Low water use, energy conservation, recycling and using local products are hallmarks of sustainable business operations. Dozens of Sedona-based businesses and government offices have achieved sustainability certification, as determined by the Sustainability Alliance. Read their stories here.

Recycle by City:  This popular website quizzes Sedonans on their recycling knowledge and provides a free one-page recycle guide to post on refrigerators and near blue barrels reached more than 1500 local consumers in its first 8 weeks. The program is a Chamber partnership with Recycle by City.

Governor’s Award:  In 2019, the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan and the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau  were honored with the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Arizona Cultural and Historic Preservation. The Award recognizes the year’s “most significant contribution to the cultural and historic preservation of the natural, cultural or aesthetic legacy of Arizona that inspires visitation to the state.” 

Read the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan

Read the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) Fact Sheet

Additional sustainability information can be found in this blog on SedonaChamber.com

Find a list of sustainabily certified businesses.

Watch our progress on implemention of the Plan.

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