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Rethinking tourism: a look at Sedona

Morgan Navas | April 30, 2024

Sedona, known for its stunning red rock formations, spiritual healing, and natural vortexes, has become a desire for many tourists. While this boom in tourism has allowed more people to experience these unique experiences, it has created a need to rethink their tourism plan.

After COVID shutdowns, a loss of budget, and frustrated locals, it became evident that their current plan wasn’t quite working. Facing an abundance of overtourism can damage infrastructure, natural landscapes, and local morale. 

What does this mean for Sedona? And for its tourists? 

For Sedona, it resulted in changing their approach to tourism and their ideal tourist. New ideas for the ‘ideal tourist’ lean closer towards slow tourism, and further from ‘more tourists equals more money’. 

You can also see these themes throughout the updated Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan (STP). With an emphasis on longer stays, cultural immersion, and more respectful travel, they hope to curate more meaningful tourism experiences. 

As for you, the tourist, it means being more aware of your impact on the system. This can be achieved by planning for longer stays that allow you to participate in the local economy, considering alternative transportation methods, and respecting the environment.  Another consideration is how you choose to post about your destination. In recent years, there have been many discussions regarding how social media puts stress on systems underprepared for an influx of tourists. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Sedona’s STP, you can learn more here. AZ Central also has an interesting article about this topic, and how it relates to other tourist destinations in the area, which can be found here.

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