(from left) Jeff Strachan, Business Development Director at Dubai College of Tourism; Hoor Alkhaja, SVP, International Operations at Dubai Economy and Tourism; Olga Tsoi, Manager, IBCCES; Essa Al Shamsi, SVP Terminal Operations at Dubai Airports; and Eman Al Suwaidi, Head - Government Agenda at Dubai Airports. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai International Airport (DXB), the world’s biggest airport for international passenger traffic, has become the first international airport to earn the Certified Autism Centre (CAC) designation, awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

The achievement highlights Dubai Airports’ commitment to elevating the travel experience and making it easier for people of determination while also supporting Dubai’s pursuit of becoming a Certified Autism Destination (CAD).

Majed Al Joker, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai Airports, said: “On behalf of our entire DXB community, we are incredibly proud of this achievement and recognition. It’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive travel experience for all our guests — including those with hidden disabilities — has been recognised.”

He added: “In line with UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021 for the Emirate to be the world’s leading disability-friendly city, we are dedicated to promoting the inclusion of all guests and creating an airport environment where everyone feels welcomed and supported. It’s an honour to work closely with the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and IBCCES team to address challenges in this area.”

Essa Bin Hadher, General Manager at Dubai College of Tourism, said: “At Dubai College of Tourism, we provide accessible training to stakeholders across the tourism ecosystem, via our Dubai Way training platform designed to provide individuals employed in tourist-facing roles with the knowledge and skills to ensure the best level of customer service to People of Determination.”

IBCCES awards CAC designation to recognise organisations committed to understanding and accommodating the needs of autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals. The airport’s accomplishment is an achievement in Dubai’s citywide initiative, led by the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), working to establish the city as a Certified Autism Destinatio (CAD).

IBCCES grants this designation to communities offering a diverse range of autism-certified accommodations, leisure, and entertainment options that can foster a more welcoming environment for autistic guests, those with sensory sensitivities, and their families.

How DXB was certified

DXB received the certification following a thorough on-site assessment of all three terminals conducted by IBCCES. During the assessment, IBCCES experienced the tailored services introduced by the Sunflower Lanyard Programme. The programme discreetly identifies and assists POD guests and grants access to prioritised routes for check-in, passport control, security checkpoints, and boarding, which can be availed when wearing a sunflower lanyard. Specially trained Guest Experience Ambassadors and employees wearing a sunflower pin are also always readily available to assist and support POD travellers throughout their airport journey.

“We’re proud to partner with Dubai Airports, supporting its commitment to inclusive travel experiences,” stated Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman.

“This certification reflects the airport operator’s dedication to exceptional service and aligns with Dubai’s vision for a more accessible city. Through our partnership, we empower airport staff with skills and tools to create a more welcoming environment for autistic and sensory-sensitive travellers, contributing to an enhanced travel experience for all.”