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Help Greater Palm Springs Become a Certified Autism Destination 

Families with autism want to travel and make memories; they also represent a large, growing segment of the travel market, spending more than $262 billion on autism-related services each year in the U.S. These travelers are searching for places and attractions that have their well-being in mind. 

In early 2022, Visit Greater Palm Springs became a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). To achieve this designation, Visit GPS staff completed autism training to better understand and welcome visitors with autism, and their families — a large, growing segment of the travel market.  

Our organization's certification represents the first step in a broader initiative to make Greater Palm Springs a Certified Autism Destination (CAD). 

Becoming a Certified Autism Destination gives Greater Palm Springs a competitive advantage and can help increase business for participating partners. It all starts with businesses like yours becoming CACs. 

Other benefits include: 

  • Recognition in the travel industry for your commitment to becoming more inclusive and supportive of individuals with autism and sensory needs. 
  • Your business’ listing on the International Online Registry of Certified Autism Centers and AutismTravel.com. IBCCES also provides ongoing support related to messaging, additional resources, and learning opportunities. 
  • Opportunity for your team members to grow and learn, giving them the confidence and ability to recognize, accept, and assist individuals on the autism spectrum. This not only benefits your business but also benefits the entire community. 
  • What is a Certified Autism Destination (CAD)?

    A CAD designation means a destination offers visitors multiple autism-trained and -certified options to choose from, including entertainment, recreation, and hotels. Visit GPS is working with IBCCES to involve key tourism, hospitality, and recreation organizations in the community to achieve this goal. Together, we can work towards creating a more accessible, inclusive, and knowledgeable destination. 

  • Why is becoming a CAD important?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism, and 1 in 6 people have sensory needs or sensitivities. Travelers with autism take millions of trips every year, but there are few destinations that have taken the extra step cohesively to better understand and enhance accommodations and experiences for these visitors. Serving the growing yet still under-served community of neurodivergent travelers is more than good business practice — it’s the right thing to do. 

Becoming a CAD starts with organizations like yours — hotels, restaurants, and attractions — becoming Certified Autism Centers. Signing up with IBCCES is easy: 

  • You'll receive position-specific online training courses for your staff, most of which only take 30 minutes to complete. This training helps staff understand how to communicate with visitors with autism and sensory needs, empowering them to provide a great experience. 
  • Once 80% of guest-facing staff are trained, you become a CAC and featured on AutismTravel.com. 

To begin the process of becoming a Certified Autism Destination, contact Meredith Tekin at IBCCES by phone: 877-717-6543 ext. 12 or email: meredith@ibcces.org Visit: www.ibcces.org 

Join this growing list of organizations becoming Certified Autism Centers in Greater Palm Springs: 

The Living DesertChildren's Discovery Museum of the Desert logo

Still, have questions? Contact Josh Heinz, Partnership Coordinator for Visit Graeter Palm Springs at josh@visitgreaterps.com or (760) 969-1333.