Dubai making huge strides in becoming certified autism destination


Dubai is on record pace towards becoming a Certified Autism Destination.

Just over one year into the process, driven by Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), the city is firmly on track to becoming the first Certified Autism Destination in the Eastern Hemisphere.

As part of the accreditation process, DET, in collaboration with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), renowned leaders in autism and sensory training and certification, has initiated comprehensive autism and sensory awareness training for its tourist-facing workforce.

Offered via 'Dubai Way', an online training platform developed by Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), this training is tailored to enrich staff knowledge, deepen understanding and refine communication strategies, all aimed at fostering a more inclusive and accommodating experience for people of determination.

In addition to its Autism and Sensory Awareness course, DCT offers Inclusive Service training on the Dubai Way platform which is a self-paced online programme that teaches applicants how best to cater and communicate with people of determination.

In just over a year, the city has achieved the following milestones:

  • More than 13,000 individuals have received autism and sensory awareness training via Dubai Way.
  • More than 350 hotels commenced the training and certification process, ensuring comfortable and inclusive stays for guests with autism and sensory sensitivities.
  • More than 30 locations have earned IBCCES certifications.

The significant progress made so far in the accreditation process underscores Dubai’s dedication to inclusivity and accessibility for all residents and visitors, and is aligned with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure.

"Dubai is committed to becoming an accessible and inclusive destination, and a key factor driving our rapid progress is the entire industry being aligned and moving together in one cohesive direction," said Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).

Myron Pincomb, Board Chairman of IBCCES, said: "Typically, achieving Certified Autism Destination status would take a city three years and Dubai’s record-breaking pace reflects the strong community support and leadership from its key partners. For us, this is just the beginning, and we’re brimming with excitement for another year of teamwork, eager to see Dubai achieve Certified Autism Destination status by working closely together."

Major attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Jumeirah Beach have comprehensive accessibility measures for physical and hidden disabilities like dedicated spaces, ramps, elevators, provision of hearing loops and resizable menus.

DET’s Specialised Accessibility Guide on provides insights on how to navigate Dubai effortlessly, covering user-friendly airport facilities, metro tips and accessible attractions.

Attractions such as Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Ice Rink, The Green Planet, Motiongate, Woo-hoo, and Atlantis Aquaventure have successfully obtained Certified Autism Center (CAC) status, awarded by IBCCES.

While key hotel groups like Emaar Hospitality and Atlantis have also demonstrated commitment through investing in workforce training to secure their CAC status.

In December 2023, Dubai International Airport (DXB) became the first international airport to earn the CAC designation.

In the hospitality sector, Dubai’s hotels and establishments are also required by law to comply with a robust building access code with wheelchair-accessible entrances, designated parking spaces and dedicated bathrooms and guest rooms, contributing to the emirate’s drive to become a Certified Autism Destination.

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