Sedona News: Michelle Conway has been named the President and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, Board of Directors Chairman Al Comello announced today. Conway has served as Interim President and CEO since March.
“Michelle has convincingly demonstrated the leadership this critical position requires,” Al Comello Board Chairman said. “The Board believes her executive skills, the respect she has earned in the community and her understanding of the needs of our members eminently qualify her to lead in the years ahead.”
“Michelle has a keen eye for reinforcing Sedona as a sustainable destination and communicating our priorities to visitors,” said Vice Chair and incoming Board Chair Jennifer Perry. “She has outlined clear goals for the coming year that address the current needs of our community and tourism industry.”
“I wish to thank the Board for their confidence and our amazing staff for their dedication and professionalism during challenging times,” Conway said. “I also want to acknowledge our 725+ partners for their critical role in our economic health. Supporting their stability and growth is a top priority.”
Since she was appointed Interim President/CEO, Conway has overseen the expansion of the Sedona Trail Keepers program, which donated $102,000 for area trail maintenance and preservation in March. She has also directed implementation of the Chamber’s partnership with Leave No Trace, the leading national organization educating consumers on responsible outdoor recreation. In addition, she led the Chamber’s partnership with the City to brand, launch and promote the Sedona Shuttle Trailhead service, easing traffic congestion at popular hiking spots and communicating alternative trails to help disperse visitors.
She and her team have developed strategy suggestions and a draft Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Destination Management Plan and budget to present to the Sedona City Council in June, which includes a fresh look at the Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP) in partnership with City of Sedona staff and the City Council. The STP, originally adopted in 2019, will be reassessed with today’s priorities in mind. Conway’s vision is one of balance, including leveraging Sedona’s tourism industry to help tackle community concerns. “Our visitor management programs, funded through bed tax dollars paid by visitors, help reduce congestion on streets and trails, disperse visitation, encourage responsible recreation and more.”
“It’s also crucial that visitors are informed about who we are — a beautiful city with intelligent residents who are committed to sustainability and whose expectations of visitors is one of respect. If we don’t communicate our expectations to visitors we leave it up to others – like those on Instagram – to define us, which is a dangerous proposition. We must be present and a part of the conversation to properly advance Sedona’s long-term wellness,” Conway added.
“Our success depends on unity,” Conway concluded. “Our residents, City Council, the Chamber as a certified Destination Management Organization, our public land agencies, nonprofits and our business community have a voice in managing our tourism-based economy sustainably. I look forward to positive change as we move forward.” Before she was appointed Interim President/CEO, Conway served as the SCC&TB Director of Marketing since 2009 with a background in marketing, branding, advertising, and public relations. She played a critical role in the Chamber’s COVID-19 response and visitor education, including the “Safe.Clean.Ready” COVID business program and the “Sedona Cares Pledge” for travelers visiting Sedona.
Conway’s appointment is effective immediately, according to Board Chair Comello.
About The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau The SCC&TB is a 501 ( c ) 6 nonprofit that is the collective voice of business in Red Rock Country and the area’s official Destination Management Organization. The driving force behind Arizona’s first officially-adopted Sustainable Tourism Plan (link), the chamber is a “3C” organization: a catalyst, convener and champion for business growth and a thriving community.