With attractions such as Discovery Cove and Aquatica Orlando, as well as hotel groups such as Beaches Resorts and Palladium Hotel Group, among a host of others, becoming Certified Autism Centers to help ensure that all families with autism and other sensory disorders are properly accommodated while they travel to these locales, it makes sense that you, too, become a Certified Autism Travel Professional™ (CATP).
The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) offers certification programs to travel professionals who help families and individuals with special needs prepare for their perfect vacation. A Certified Autism Travel Professional is defined as a professional who has demonstrated that they are both knowledgeable and capable of providing support and travel-related services to an individual on the autism spectrum as well as their family.
“I really commend suppliers who are stepping up in a big way to make sure that their destinations are accommodating as possible to families with special needs,” says Nicole Thibault, owner of Magical Storybook Travels and specializing in booking travel for families with special needs. “I am hoping that the trend of suppliers (and travel advisors!) becoming Certified Autism Centers continues, because knowing that a destination has trained their staff in autism training really makes a difference to families and gives them the confidence to travel to that destination.”
In fact, when a travel advisor becomes a Certified Autism Travel Professional, they’ll have the ability to provide travel solutions to a $262 billion underserved market; increase their revenue by gaining knowledge and access into a brand-new customer base; get a personal recognition for their expertise in the fastest growing market in the travel industry; access comprehensive training in autism-related travel; get their listing on AutismTravel.com, available to 5.6 million parents across the U.S.; and subscribe to the member portal, providing access to certified travel programs, additional training and travel planning tools.
“For me,” says Thibault, “the absolute most-rewarding part of being a special needs travel advisor is the smiles I see in the family photos when they get back from a vacation they thought they never would be able to take. I take great pride in seeing the family splashing in the ocean, eating out at a restaurant, participating in resort activities, because I know my assistance helped to make that happen.”
To become a Certified Autism Travel Professional, visit edu.recommend.com.