Takes First Steps Toward Creating A More Accessible Destination
Visit Greater Palm Springs is now a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). The CAC designation is awarded to organizations that have completed autism training to better understand and welcome autistic visitors and their families.
Visit Greater Palm Springs achieving the CAC designation is the first step in a movement to make the greater Palm Springs area a Certified Autism Destination (CAD). The CAD designation will offer visitors multiple trained and certified options to choose from when in the area, including entertainment, recreation, and hotel options. Visit Greater Palm Springs is working with IBCCES to involve key tourism, hospitality, and recreation organizations in the community to achieve this goal in order to attract more visitors and ensure inclusive options are available.
“We are pleased to be recognized as a Certified Autism Center™, but it is just the first step,” said Scott White, Visit Greater Palm Springs president and CEO. “We are committed to working with our tourism and community partners to better prepare our destination to serve autistic travelers.”
The focus on ensuring accessibility is important, especially with 1 in 44 children in the US diagnosed with autism (according to the CDC) and 1 in 6 people with sensory needs or sensitivities. Travelers with disabilities take millions of trips every year, but there are few destinations with a variety of options that have taken the extra step cohesively to better understand and enhance accommodations for these visitors.
“We are thrilled to work with Visit Greater Palm Springs as the team expands its focus on accessibility and ensuring that autistic visitors and their families can have wonderful experiences,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. "Organizations like Visit Greater Palm Springs are vital in pushing the industry forward to be more inclusive and welcoming for ALL travelers.”
For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been the leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES created programs specifically for hospitality and recreational organizations such as hotels, theme parks, museums, and other attractions so staff would be more knowledgeable and other accommodations could be offered to this growing, but underserved, part of the community. IBCCES is the only credentialing board offering these types of programs, which include training from subject matter experts and autistic self-advocates, as well as long-term support and continuous learning, onsite reviews, and more.
IBCCES also created AutismTravel.com, as a free online resource for parents that lists certified locations and professionals. Each organization listed on the site has met Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
About Visit Greater Palm Springs
Visit Greater Palm Springs (Visit GPS) is the official destination marketing organization for the nine-city Southern California oasis of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, and Coachella. Founded in 1989 with a mission to positively affect the destination’s $7.5 billion tourism economy and quality of life for its residents, Visit GPS provides sales, marketing and PR, and destination development activities to grow visitation from potential leisure travelers and event, meeting, and convention group markets.
Greater Palm Springs, which has been known as a Hollywood hot spot since the early 1920s, is an easy getaway from Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well as more than 500 connecting cities into Palm Springs International Airport. With mountains you can almost reach out and touch, natural hot mineral springs, lush palm groves, over 100 golf courses and more than 300 days of sunshine each year, the destination presents a unique combination of escape, adventure, recreation, and relaxation.
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.
Meredith Tekin, President
Phone: 904.508.0135 / 904.434.1534
Joyce Kiehl, Director of Communications