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Fri, Aug. 14

Sedona Chamber stops proactive marketing; closes popular Visitors Center

Sedona is a world-famous travel destination visited by nearly 3 million tourists each year, while Sedona’s population hovers around 10,000 residents in the city limits. VVN/Vyto Starinskas file photo

Sedona is a world-famous travel destination visited by nearly 3 million tourists each year, while Sedona’s population hovers around 10,000 residents in the city limits. VVN/Vyto Starinskas file photo

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce has stopped proactive marketing to attract tourists to Sedona during the coronavirus emergency and will close its popular Visitor’s Center on Thursday.

“There is no point to having a strong economy or a well-balanced quality of life if we are too sick to enjoy it,” explained Jennifer Wesselhoff, president/CEO of the chamber.

“So since last month, the Chamber has done no proactive marketing to attract visitors to Sedona, and we are not planning any right now,” she said in an open letter to Sedonans.

“Instead we are communicating straight information – letting the traveling public know the situation in Arizona and Sedona’s approach to handling the crisis. You can see exactly what we are saying by visiting our Travel Advisory page, which is for people considering travel to Sedona,” Wesselhoff said.

Sedona is a world-famous travel destination visited by nearly 3 million tourists each year, while Sedona’s population hovers around 10,000 residents in the city limits, explains the Sedona Chamber website,.

“I would imagine tourist season will fall off,” explained Yavapai County Health Department Epidemiologist Stephen Everett last week. “Especially with your international crowds.” He pointed out that tourists from Europe won’t even be able to get into the country with President Trump’s new travel ban.

The Sedona Yoga Festival and the Sedona St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled their events when the crisis began. Other popular events have followed, and the City of Sedona has declared an emergency and closed city offices.

“If you’re getting people from all over the world, I would say cancel. If they are from around the country, and they are on airplanes, yea, you probably should cancel,” Everett said.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Sedona or in Yavapai County, according to the health department.

Everett said the coronavirus is coming to the county and it’s only a matter of time. He said it will come from out-of-state, most likely by people who have been traveling or by infected people coming to the area.

“We have no idea what it’s going to be like,” he said. “We don’t know if it will last throughout the summer.”

“I promise you, we will communicate the most recent and most accurate account of what the Chamber is up to in helping manage this crisis,” Wesselhoff concluded.

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