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Sat, June 25

Chamber News: Banners are up

Hope you enjoyed a fantastic Memorial Day weekend! I called the holiday a "banner weekend" due to our fifty beautiful banners along SR 179 and 890A in Uptown promoting responsible outdoor recreation.

In partnership with the City of Sedona, the banner messages are at the heart of our visitor outreach for the next year. They communicate the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace and Sedona Cares. The theme: Sedona expects visitors to practice respect for our lifestyle and public lands.

If you're not familiar, the LNT Seven Principles speak directly to personal responsibility: disposing of waste properly, sticking to trails, checking campfire restrictions, planning ahead, sharing the outdoors, and leaving the landscape undisturbed.

The Sedona Cares Pledge is nine behavioral agreements, such as respecting the quiet of our neighborhoods, driving prudently, practicing kindness and being mindful of our sensitive environment.

It's all about emphasizing to visitors that they honor our environment and quality of life as we do. That message is even more necessary as the national travel surge continues, especially in non-urban natural settings like ours. In addition, the expanding population of Phoenix and mean day-trippers are once again looking to Sedona for relief and relaxation this summer. Last year, as short-term visitation exploded even with the absence of marketing, we encountered many people unaccustomed to the responsibilities that come with outdoor rec. Leave No Trace and Sedona Cares aim to get them up to speed.

According to our annual survey, members strongly believe responsible visitor recreation messages are a critical Chamber mission. Ninety-four percent agree we should educate visitors on proper behavior, and 82% believe it strongly.

Here is a sample of other interesting results:

We should promote Greater Sedona as a sustainable destination

Eighty-seven percent of responding members support framing the Sedona region as a sustainable community, 56% strongly.

Showing that we live our values of environmental respect and quality of life is the key. Our message: we welcome you and expect you to do your part.

An overwhelming majority say their business is tourism-related

When asked, "Is your business directly or indirectly related to tourism?" Seventy-one percent responded, "Yes."

Tourism's impact runs deeper than direct sales. Yavapai College estimates tourism-related businesses purchase $100.1 million in local services each year, supporting 1,097 supplier jobs that generate more than $30 million in labor income.

Also, employees in tourism-related businesses spend more than $100 million locally each year on personal services and household goods.

Out-of-state markets are critical

More than 60% consider the following markets very important or important. Note that for each, the 'very important' category has the higher number:

City Very Important Important Total

LA 47 25 72

Las Vegas 44 22 66

Chicago 41 22 63

NYC 39 22 61

We know out-of-staters stay longer and spend more than other visitors. Reaching these competitive markets with messages that we want visitors who also value our environment and lifestyle is a double-barreled strategy: it will attract desirable visitors and prepare them to be respectful contributors.

Sustainability is a top-three issue for Sedona Area businesses

After affordable housing (57%) and transportation (55%), sustainability (51%) is the top issue for our business. No other issue topped 50%.

We believe the Chamber/City of Sedona banner partnership is an example of messaging that resonates with our members' priorities, as revealed in our survey, and with the wishes of the Council and most Sedonans, as expressed in the Sustainable Tourism Plan. We look forward to an exciting FY22/23, blending community prosperity and visitor inclusion with stewardship of our environment and quality of life.

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