Sedona/Verde Valley one of 22 destinations on new National Geographic website

Jennifer Wesselhoff

Jennifer Wesselhoff

VERDE VALLEY - Sedona Verde Valley Tourism, Friends of the Verde River Greenway and the Walton Family Foundation have partnered with National Geographic to increase geotourism in the greater Sedona Verde Valley area.

National Geographic's website now includes a page that highlights places to go, where to stay and things to do in the area. The site is located at http://sedonaverdevalley.natgeotourism.com.

According to the Sedona Verde Valley Tourism website, www.sedonaverdevalley.org, geotourism "sustains or enhances the geographic character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents."

Camp Verde Economic Director Steve Ayers and Chip Norton, president of Friends of the Verde River Greenway, applied for a grant through the Walton Family Foundation. Friends of the Verde River Greenway was awarded $200,000 through this grant in summer 2014. Sedona Verde Valley Tourism was chosen by Friends of the Verde River Greenway as the organization to spearhead the marketing exhibition with National Geographic.

The organization was given $150,000 to begin this task. The other $50,000 was designated to the River Recreation Project that is being put together by Ayers and the Town of Camp Verde.

The Walton Family Foundation suggested geotourism, through National Geographic, as a form of marketing. Now, Sedona and the Verde Valley are one of the 22 projects taken on by National Geographic, said Ayers.

According to Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, Sedona and the Verde Valley, is the smallest region of the 22.

The geotourism website was launched on Thursday, Nov. 12 and since then, the website has trafficked more than 300 comments to the page. The website works by citizens of the Sedona Verde Valley leaving comments of their favorite places in the area.

"We are trying to attract the right type of visitors; the kind that have the same values as us: conservation and preservation for our home," said Wesselhoff.

Sedona Verde Valley Tourism wants to involve local businesses, citizens, cities and towns, and the chambers of those places, said Wesselhoff.

-Follow Aryssa Carvalho on Twitter @aryssamashon and on Facebook.com/cvbugle

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