Visit Jacksonville is Florida's first destination management organization to earn the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) designation. This designation, granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), recognizes organizations that have undergone staff training to better understand and meet the needs of autistic visitors and their families.
Visit Jacksonville president and CEO Michael Corrigan welcomed the designation, saying, "We're proud to be the first destination marketing organization in the state of Florida to achieve the Certified Autism Center™ status, but we're most proud to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all who visit Jacksonville."
Visit Jacksonville operates three Visitor Centers: Jacksonville International Airport, Downtown Jacksonville at 100 North Laura Street, and the Beaches Museum in Jacksonville Beach, and also deploys a mobile Visitor Center that travels to various events state-wide.
Many autistic individuals and their families want to travel yet may worry they will not be understood, welcomed, or have access to accommodation needs. A recent survey of parents, families, and autistic individuals conducted by IBCCES discovered that 94% of respondents would take more vacations or visit more new places if they had access to autism-trained and certified options. Through community designation as a CAD, a selection of the city's attractions, hotels, recreation, and entertainment organizations will complete autism and sensory training and certification, as well as onsite reviews, and have long-term access to other supports through IBCCES.
As IBCCES chairman Myron Pincomb puts it, "The IBCCES's Certified Autism Destination designation gives these families and individuals the assurance that their travel experience at certified destinations can be positive. Our stringent standards and training programs for the hospitality industry go above and beyond to ensure concrete steps are in place to enhance the visitor experience and welcome new autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors who can now feel welcomed, safe, and enjoy a more inclusive environment."
IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe for over 20 years. IBCCES is the only global credentialing board that provides travel and entertainment organizations with training and certification from subject matter experts and autistic self-advocates, and other resources, as well as long-term support that help them understand how to accommodate and assist autistic or sensory-sensitive visitors, as well as their families. IBCCES created programs specifically for hospitality and recreational organizations such as hotels, theme parks, and other attractions so staff would be more knowledgeable and other accommodations could be offered to this growing but underserved part of the community.
Committed to providing The Global Standard For Training and Certification in The Field of Cognitive Disorders – IBCCES provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are recognized around the world as the leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.
About Visit Jacksonville
Visit Jacksonville is a Destinations International-accredited Destination Marketing Organization contracted by the Duval County Tourist Development Council (TDC) to champion the growth of business and leisure tourism in Jacksonville. For a closer look at all there is to see and do in Jacksonville, go to http://www.VisitJacksonville.com or contact 800-733-2668.