Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau expands commitment to inclusivity by becoming a Certified Autism Center

Certification achieved in preparation for Autism Acceptance Month in April.

The GMCVB’s certification in autism training is a critical first step as we continue to learn how to better serve our diverse travel community.”

— Julissa Kepner, GMCVB board chairperson

MIAMI, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, April 1, 2024 / — The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) 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, welcome and provide accessibility to autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors and their families.

“Our focus as a destination continues to be our commitment to welcoming all visitors and ensuring that the Miami-Dade County travel and hospitality industry recognizes that our continued success is dependent on being the most inclusive destination possible,” said GMCVB President and CEO David Whitaker. “This certification aligns with our efforts to be an increasingly accessible community and builds on other programs including sustainability, that will make Greater Miami and Miami Beach a better place to live, work, play and visit.”

The focus on ensuring accessibility is important now more than ever, with one in 36 children in the U.S. diagnosed with autism and one in six people with sensory needs or sensitivities (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). While millions of travelers with disabilities take trips every year, there are few destinations that have taken the extra step to better understand the visitor experience for these guests.

“I am proud of the GMCVB’s leadership on key social issues that will improve our community and expand business opportunities,” said Julissa Kepner, general manager of the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay and GMCVB board chairperson. “The GMCVB’s certification in autism training is a critical first step as we continue to learn how to better serve our diverse travel community.”

The GMCVB achieving the CAC designation is an initial measure in transforming Greater Miami and Miami Beach into a Certified Autism Destination (CAD). Since April is recognized worldwide as Autism Acceptance Month, this achievement carries added resonance. Once achieved, IBCCES’s CAD designation provides visitors an array of trained and certified entertainment, recreation and hospitality options. By prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility, the initiative aims not only to draw more visitors but also to ensure that everyone can partake in the abundant offerings of Miami.

“We’re thrilled to work with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau as its team expands their focus on accessibility. This is the first step to enhance the visitor experience for autistic and sensory-sensitive travelers and make a huge difference for millions of families all over the globe,” said IBCCES Board Chairman Myron Pincomb. “Organizations like the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau 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, as a free online resource for parents listing certified locations and professionals. Each organization listed on the site has met CAC requirements.


About the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB):
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is an accredited, independent not-for-profit sales and marketing organization whose mission is to attract visitors to Greater Miami and Miami Beach for leisure, business, meetings and conventions. For additional information, visit or call 305-539-3000. Stay connected with the GMCVB by following us on our corporate communications and external affairs social media channels: and

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
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