Letter Submitted to the Red Rock News on 1/30/23.
Printed in the Red Rock News on 2/1/23
Say No to Divorce!
A recent editorial suggested that the City of Sedona and the Sedona Chamber file for divorce due to struggles over the need to better manage marketing and tourism. The Tourism Bureau side of the Chamber has cooperated with the City over time to market Sedona, bolster the local economy, and help manage tourism. It’s now time for the Tourism Bureau to become independent and fully assume its critical role in our community.
Let’s explore taking the Tourism Bureau (TB) to a new level that is independent from the Chamber. Other towns use this model. Its board of directors could include businesses, residents, government, and nonprofits. It could be funded by a portion of tourism tax receipts and have an agreement with the City to perform certain services and tasks. It must operate flexibly and efficiently. The TB could create and maintain an appropriate brand for Sedona, and market as needed (more at times, less at others). It should engage visitors (and residents) to respect the environment, honor our culture, and mitigate negative aspects of tourism. The TB must be a willing, enthusiastic, innovative, proactive, and motivated partner to the City, businesses, and residents. It must seek to balance the sometimes-competing needs in our community.
The growing conflict between the City and the Chamber isn’t healthy. If businesses, freed from their partnership with the City, begin an unconstrained marketing campaign, the conflict may widen and drag residents into a three-way argument. Nobody wins.
Managing tourism properly and effectively is a top priority for Sedona. This requires businesses, government, and residents to work together. This is no time for divorce. Everyone needs to pull together and make Sedona a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
Submitted by Pete Furman
“Opinions contained herein are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the City of Sedona or the Sedona City Council.”