Destination Toledo, the official Destination Marketing Organization for the Toledo region, has become a Certified Autism Center!
Destination Toledo Is Now A Certified Autism Center, Takes the First Step in Making Toledo More Accessible
Destination Toledo, the official Destination Marketing Organization for the Toledo region, has become a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that have completed autism-specific training and certification in order to better understand and welcome autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors and their families. Destination Toledo’s CAC certification is the first step in the organization's initiative to help Toledo achieve the designation of Certified Autism Destination (CAD) to attract new visitors to the area and expand accessibility offerings. Toledo is currently the only city in Ohio actively pursuing a designation as a CAD.
“The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards autism certification is an important step in Toledo’s pursuit to becoming an inclusive and welcoming destination for all,” shared Lance Woodworth, President & CEO of Destination Toledo. “Visitors should feel confident planning a trip to a certified destination knowing their specific needs will be addressed and the barriers to traveling will be eased.”
Destination Toledo is currently working to engage additional local partners in the travel and entertainment space to help ensure there are a variety of autism certified options as the CAD initiative moves forward. “The Valentine Theatre received their CAC designation before Destination Toledo and was the first in Toledo, which speaks to the philanthropic nature of their organization,” said Woodworth. “Toledo Museum of Art is working through the CAC process now and is the first museum to sign a five-year contract with IBCCES. Our pledge is to help other organizations understand the importance of IBCCES’s mission.” As part of its focus on accessibility, Destination Toledo’s website, VisitToledo.org, also utilizes various technologies to ensure accessibility for all users.
Many autistic individuals and their families want to travel but may worry they will not be understood, welcomed, or have access to sensory-friendly spaces at hotels, attractions, and other points of interest. Through community designation as a CAD, a collection of the destination’s attractions, hotels, recreation, and entertainment venues will complete autism and sensory training and certification, as well as onsite reviews through IBCCES. This process and designation ensure there are concrete steps in place to enhance the visitor experience and welcome autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors to the community.
About Destination Toledo
Destination Toledo is the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the greater Toledo region and is the driving force behind supporting the local economy through tourism. According to the most recent statistics from the Office of TourismOhio, tourism in Lucas County welcomes 14.5 million visitors, driving $2.7 billion in business sales, and supporting 23,501 jobs. Tourism in Lucas County generates $178 million dollars in state and local taxes supporting essential local services and infrastructure.