By Tommy Acosta
Sedona, AZ – Sedona is a ghost town. Has anyone noticed? Restaurant parking lots are almost empty. Few people are walking around Uptown. Few cars on the road. Shops are empty. Even the supermarkets are at about a third of normal capacity.
Well, those complaining about the traffic and too many tourists finally got what they wanted. At the expense of Sedona’s economic health, that is.
As a small business owner in this town, I find the Sedona City Council’s decision to stop the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau from going forward with destination marketing, one of the most stupid things it has ever done.
Caving into those complaining about traffic, ATV’s, and AirB&Bs, to name a few of them, the Council cut the lifeline of economic stability, for business owners, in half.
And now we have a hefty slate of council candidates of which none have expressed a desire to allow the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau to do their job, which is to bring tourists and commerce to our little town.
It seems there is a united front at work that wants to destroy Sedona for those of us who work and live here.
Businesses are complaining that they have never seen it so dead in Sedona during this time of the year.
Some restaurants are down 40, 50 percent from last year. No one eating out. No one is shopping. Tour companies are sending out their jeeps with two or three tourists in them, at most.
Sedona is dying on the vine. We can sense it. Something is terribly wrong.
Having gone to the last mayoral candidate forum at the Sedona performing Arts Center last week I was less than impressed as only one candidate expressed a desire to work with the Chamber to attract “quality” visitors and tourists, while the rest of them said nothing about supporting the Chamber.
Recently, the council once again cut the Chamber’s budget and hobbled them by not allowing destination marketing.
Great. Now we have another dwindled season to look forward to as people find other places to visit and spend their money than Sedona.
So, then what? Will Sedona now have to impose sales and real estate taxes to make up for the loss of income from the lodging, service and hospitality industries?
Everywhere I go the feeling in the business community is morose. There is a sense of doom in the air as our number of visitors shrinks every day.
Those living comfortably in Sedona who are retired and don’t have to depend on a job to make ends meet can now be happy that traffic has finally diminished, though the possibility that their favorite restaurants may no longer be there to serve them, now exists.
Let’s hope those newly elected find reason, and act to save Sedona before it’s too late. We need to unshackle the hands of the Chamber and let them get back to marketing our city and bringing more tourists to Sedona.
We need our Chamber Commerce and Tourism Bureau strong and healthy if we wish to survive the coming economic crisis.
And for those of you still trying to tie down the Chamber, you reap what you sow.