Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort has earned the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) designation, which is granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that complete staff training and an onsite review process to better understand and assist autistic and sensory-sensitive guests and their families. The completion of the program marks the first-ever autism-certified hotel in Jordan.
There are millions of sensory-sensitive and autistic individuals across the globe looking for destinations where they feel welcomed. Often, autistic individuals and their families find it challenging to travel to new places or plan family vacations due to accessibility barriers, stigma, or misunderstandings. As a growing portion of the travel and recreation market, these travelers are likely to visit more often, stay longer, or spend more if they feel welcomed by a location and have some basic accommodations or options provided to them.
“Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort is deeply committed to learning, accepting, and celebrating people’s differences. Our mission to care for people is deeply rooted in our culture to embrace diversity. At Hyatt Regency, we understand the challenges autistic individuals and families can face when venturing outside of their comfort zone, so we prioritized integrating better knowledge and understanding for our team. IBCCES’ training and certification will ensure our team can bring comfort and smiles and offer a welcoming place for everyone,” shared Jean Francois Durand, General Manager of Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort. “Society today must ensure that no effort is spared to create an environment where autistic people are fully integrated as valued members.”
IBCCES provided autism sensitivity and awareness training to the Hyatt Regency Aqaba team to help staff understand the spectrum of needs guests may have, communication best practices, basic safety information, and how to assist in case a guest is overwhelmed. IBCCES also conducted an onsite review to provide additional recommendations and insight to enhance the guest experience. Part of this review will include the creation of sensory guides so guests can understand the sensory aspects of more engaging areas of the hotel. IBCCES certification also requires periodic renewal and ongoing training as the hotel continues to enhance the guest experience for all.
In addition to the certification, Hyatt Regency offers a Camp Hyatt program. This kids club has been upgraded to be a more inclusive environment where all kids have equal play opportunities in safe and comfortable spaces. Sensory and supportive tools and components are available to create an immersive environment of lights, music and visuals to stimulate all senses and provide options for respite and relief when feeling overstimulated.
Camp HYATT sensory inclusive upgrades consist of: A quiet room furnished with comfortable couches, bean bags, and sensory pillows, where kids may sleep or calm down, in addition to a fiber optic shower and an infinity mirror to stimulate the senses of touch and sight and enhance concentration. A TV room with a play station, can be converted into a sensory room that can be adapted to many scenarios, from high-energy activities to a calming atmosphere. An interactive zone is also available and furnished with comfortable couches, jokey swings, a light table, sensory tiles, vibrating animals, a climbing wall, and sound to a light system with a microphone for communication and motor activities.
“IBCCES is excited to work with Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort as they focus on accessibility and enhanced guest service to provide the best experience for all visitors,” said IBCCES Board Chairman Myron Pincomb. “We hope their dedication and commitment is a catalyst for other resorts and attractions in the region to take this step to create more inclusive spaces for this often overlooked but growing segment of the market.”
In addition to the Certified Autism Center™ designation, the Valentine Theatre is committed to presenting inclusive and welcoming performances to all patrons. As part of that commitment, their Weekend Family Series is now sensory-friendly. The Series includes three to four annual performances presented by national and international professional touring groups on the Valentine’s Main Stage. Families are encouraged to bring their own calming and motivational systems for their children or loved ones with sensory sensitivities. Fidget tools and headphones are available to check out from the Box Office. The Founder’s Room located off of the Grand Lobby (mural) is a designated quiet space with soft seating and relaxing activities for those who need a space to retreat if feeling overloaded. Tickets for individual shows are $13 – $15 for children and $18 – $20 for adults. Discounted subscription rates are $42 for children ($10.50/show) and $62 for adults ($15.50/show). For tickets and more information on this season’s Family Series, please call (419) 242-2787 or visit www.valentinetheatre.com.
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 the hospitality and recreational organizations such as hotels, theme parks, and other attractions so staff would be more knowledgeable and other accommodations 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, a free online resource for parents that lists certified destinations and connects families to other resources and each other. Each destination listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) requirements.
About Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla
Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort is a scenic retreat nestled midst towering mountains, dazzling blue lagoons, exclusive marina and the fairways of the 18-hole Ayla Golf Club. Indulge yourself at our tranquil spa, build sand castles with the kids or simply sit back and relax by one of our pools.
Learn More About Becoming A Certified Autism Center™