Lori Mabery is no novice to Verde Valley tourism. As the point person for one of the largest tourist attractions in Cottonwood, Blazin'M Ranch, there has always a keen interest in attracting visitors. In recent years, Mabery has also has led the Cottonwood Chamber board and its Tourism Committee.
Still, Mabery is very inclusive, "There are so many people working on tourism, as well as community leaders. Tourism is a group effort."
"Nature has given us the tools: the amazing landscape, rich in history and culture. We have tourism, we just need to stimulate it and boost our exposure."
Among the efforts is a welcome merging of resources across the Verde Valley, so that the separate chamber efforts are working toward a singe focus, rather than attempting to divide the market.
"It is more efficient when we are all pushing with joint dollars. The more nights and the longer we can encourage guests to stay in the Verde Valley, the more money stays behind."
During her tenure as chair, the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in the first regional mixer for Sedona, Cottonwood and surrounding chambers held at Cliff Castle Casino last July. She continues to work closely with the Wine Consortium in creating the Verde Valley Wine Trail, which is creating a flurry of excitement and is putting the Verde Valley on the "must visit" list of both in-state and out-of-state and even out-of-country tourists. She coordinates the Verde Valley Visitors Guide as well as the Chamber of Commerce golf tournament.
"She is definitely an idea gal," notes Christian Olivia del Rio, the Chamber Office Manager.
"Tourism is an ongoing effort that you can't ignore because you have one good year. It is even more important to pay attention when the times are not so good," said Mabery.