By Tommy Acosta
Yes. Divorces can be painful but sometimes it’s for the better, as some survivors claim.
The recent divorce between the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sedona is bound to be painful, but in the end, it may turn out to be the best thing anyone can do for our town.
Finally, the Chamber’s hands are untied, and they can go out there and advertise the be jeepers out of Sedona, making Sedona a household name from Madagascar to Alpha Centauri while drawing the kind of quality tourists this town badly needs.
Sedona residents were tired of the overcrowding of the town with vehicles from all over the national map and beyond, tourists stuffing our restaurants, streets, hiking trails, etc., stretching the city’s resources to capacity, buying homes and making profit with Airbnbs.
The crux of what led to this inevitable divorce was basically a war between the business owners of Sedona that survive on tourism versus the residents that perceive Sedona as their own. That’s it. In a nutshell.
Most residents want their streets void of choking traffic. They don’t want the tourists turning Sedona into New York City style traffic jam.
The businesspeople want to make money while feeding the city coffers with tax-payer moolah to keep services moving. The businesses Uptown Sedona create a wonderful cowboy/UFO-themed experiences. The restaurants, spas, and resorts are world renowned. They work seamlessly to make Sedona an experience people should experience more than once in their lifetime; not to mention working hard to save the property owners from having to pay property taxes.
Residents want to be able to go out and not have to wait to get into their favorite restaurants. They want to go to their hiking trails and not have to dodge bicycles or pit bulls or trip over garbage.
They want to take their city back from the great unwashed hordes from the nether world crowding them out.
But alas. It’s too late.
Like it or not, we business owners love traffic. The more crowded it is the happier we are because that means more business for us in the long and short run. Just being honest.
In gratitude we watch the city bulge, with each new busload of tourists being dropped off Uptown.
Our elected officials are stuck behind a rock and a hard place. The cry from the community to get rid of the tourists is clarion. Voters simply don’t want them here. And elected officials want to be re-elected.
The catch 22 is that the city needs the tax dollars to operate, fix things and police the community. It’s been reported that 77 percent of the city’s budget is provided by tourism bucks.
The Chamber represents the businesses. Their job is to bring people to Sedona. They could ask tourists to be mindful of the environment, but the main goal is to fill the restaurants, shops and hotels of us members.
The Chamber shirked its shackles. Unbridled and unhandcuffed, the Chamber will be able to work even harder to make Sedona the number one destination point in our galaxy.
Sedona will be advertised everywhere and in every outlet that pushes vacations. Especially media outlets that focus on drawing quality visitors that would stay for a number of days rather than draw day trippers.
The first thing people stepping off the plane at Sky Harbor should see is a giant illuminated electronic sign advertising Sedona. Maybe even put a poster on the moon. For us business owners, that would be a panacea.
Short of evicting the Chamber and banning it from Sedona forever, the best frustrated locals can do is to learn deep meditation, and like good doctors, have a lot ‘patients’ when dealing with our visitors.
Electing officials that do not support the Chamber is useless. Just like their inability to stop the proliferation of Airbnb’s, there is nothing they can do to stem the tide.
Erecting roadblocks at the traffic circles will not stop tourists. Sedona is, has always been and will always be a tourist town.
Maybe we could stop calling our visitors “tourists” and perceive them as our guests. Ourselves as caretakers of this sacred land.
The power, the beauty, the healing energy of Sedona, its allure, cannot be denied, nor hoarded by Sedonans.
The land is our host. We are its stewards. Putting up with inconveniences is more than worth the price to be able to call Sedona home.
Sedona is truly one of the wonders of the world. Trying to curb the waves of people coming here for healing, recreation, peace and centering is an exercise in futility. It’s like trying to stop a tsunami with a wall of sand.
Well all the grumpy find everything wrong with Sedona people should be happy? Will they? Hell no they wont be..Now the Chamber can do what their people want them to do….The city can now hire a big wig city advertising group to just advertise everywhere and anywhere!
Give it two years and we will all see the fallout! But trust me, there will just be new things the chronic complainers will whine and cry about! They always have, they always will.
They will prove me right as soon as they respond! LOL, fools.
Makes zero sense to have two entities trying to achieve the same goal? Kind of like having 2 equal but separate police departments here.
We do have a local police dept., and we have the county sheriff, we have DPS, we have the marshals office, and even a FBI office.
Now we will have at least 3 that i know for advertising the city. The bed tax money the city will hire a PR firm. The chamber will advertise on behalf of the paying membership. And it was 2 months ago the Sedona area lodging council said they were upset with the city and was going to spend $300k to start ads.
For all those who this makes happy, there is a saying ” be careful what you wish for, it just might come true.”
Good article, Tommy.
I catch myself saying “tourist” and change it to “visitors” and mayby I’ll go a step further and call them “guests” because that’s what they are… This weekend was so beautiful and I pinch myself every day because I live in Sedona. No, I don’t bitch about the traffic or the AirBnBs…I’ve learned to live with both. Maybe it’s because I love this little City and no one is going to rain on my parade!
That says it all.
Maybe the businesses can just eliminate residents. The fact that a resident is trapped in their home shouldn’t matter as long as someone makes a profit. Quality of life ? Profit is all that matters ! You would have Pottersville from It’s a Wonderful Life. Maybe you should ban churches , zone for marijuana dispensaries, gambling and prostitution. There are some revenue streams for your profit ! After all, sex workers need to make a living too!
Karma is real, you have turned beautiful, spiritual Sedona into a whore. You who pursue only money will get your just rewards.
It is essential to recognize the significant impact tourism has on Sedona’s economy and infrastructure, it supports over 10,000 jobs and almost one billion dollars in sales. While residents may experience inconveniences due to the influx of visitors, it is also essential to acknowledge the benefits tourism brings to the community, no local city property tax, and the majority of the city’s income comes from visitors. Ultimately, it is up to individual residents to decide if the benefits of living in a tourist town outweigh the challenges that come with it.
Sedona Lodging Council
Yes we have multiple law enforcement agencies locally, statewide and nationally and each has their own authority, jurisdiction(s), mission statements but they rarely if ever overlap except during Mutual Aid/Multi Agency Operations.
Guess you read into what I was saying and understood that I referenced Sedona PD as the sole LEA in Sedona. What I was saying rather is that having two city government agencies employed by the city to do the exact same mission like responding to Traffic Accidents was akin to having 2 actual City of Sedona PD’s with their own individual Chief, Staff and equipment etc. performing the exact same LE mission as each other when one City PD and Staff is more than adequate to perform local jurisdictional missions.
That is not to say that Sedona PD shouldn’t have a Substation or two like Sedona Fire has so that response time can be minimal.
Having two paid city government entities working on boosting tourism above all else is surely a waste of $.
What’s the goal…..money or qualify of life? (Hint: Money doesn’t buy a good quality of life.)
And “where will the children plaaaaaaayy?” Air BnBs have instigated an exodus of young families who not only can’t afford to live here, but who cannot find housing. I was one of those families in the 90s. My girls thrived here. I held three jobs to stay. Now, they’re gone and i find myself more out of town than in, nowadays. Sedona is already on the map. She has not needed the advertising of the last 10 years. Think how that money could’ve been spent. We are the “talk of the town” in LA, NYC, Chicago, London, Paris, cities in Australia, Japan, China, and beyond. Maybe advertise in the Airline Magazines for the first-classers to fill Enchantment and L’Auberge. The Wedding Industry has advertised Sedona for decades. <3 <3 <3 She will always be part of me wherever I go.
To quote the Honorable Mayor Sandy ” The tourist will still come weather we market or not”. Or how about the Honorable Mayor Rob Adams quote ” now that you got your money Jennifer, what are you going to do with it”. The fact is the Chamber received some 25 million dollars over ten years to market Sedona. The result was day tripping rif raf that destroyed the quality of life for the Sedona citizens. The Chamber promised to bring in high end visitors when in fact they did the opposite. The Chamber characterized themselves as a DMO and a Bureau. The fact is they were neither. Research the definitions and you will find that the chamber does not qualify for either one. The whole misinformation campaign was to bilk the Citizens of Sedona out of millions of dollars. Time to pay it back. Now the City of Sedona can operate their own tourism program like every other legitimate city in Arizona.