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TCI: Beaches Resorts Elevates Commitment to Inclusivity During Autism Acceptance Month

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Organization To Become Recertified as Advanced Certified Autism Centers (ACAC) and Expand Offerings At Its Luxury-Included Family Resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos


MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, Beaches® Resorts has announced its expanded commitment to families with children on the autism spectrum, ensuring a safe, fun and comfortable vacation experience that’s tailored to their needs. With one in 54 children diagnosed with autism in the U.S., special needs travel continues to be one of the fastest-growing family travel segments and one that is severely underserved. Building upon an existing partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) – the global leader in cognitive disorder training and certification – Beaches Resorts has extended its Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC) accreditation through 2023 and continues to be the world’s first and only ACAC resort company underscoring its dedication to ensuring every family can enjoy the award-winning Luxury Included® vacation experience.

Through this ACAC recertification process, over the next several months, Beaches Resorts’ team members in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos will be eligible to participate in advanced autism training virtually, with an emphasis on the resorts’ key touch point areas, including kids camps, entertainment, front desk/reception, food and beverage and watersports operations. This recertification process will also expand to training of team members at the Airport Arrival Lounge/Reception Area in Montego Bay, Jamaica and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, which offer the first point of contact for Beaches Resorts’ arriving guests.

The all-inclusive family resort company, in collaboration with IBCCES, will also launch a Sensory Stimulation Guide for guests with sensory needs, providing comfort and an understanding of what to expect in each designated area of the resort. The guide, which outlines the degree of sensory stimulation in a specific area or event, allows families to easily plan and navigate their visit based on their individual needs. Designated Low Sensory Areas will also be identified at all resorts, allowing guests to find comfort in designated spaces should they need a break from sensory stimulation. These locations will be easily identifiable through resort maps, onsite signage and in pre-travel planning materials.

“As the first resort company in the world to attain the distinguished ACAC credentials, we’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished to-date and look forward to findings new ways to demonstrate our commitment to autism acceptance and inclusion while creating an autism-friendly environment,” said Joel Ryan, Group Manager Themed Entertainment and Children’s Activities. “As the best-in-class, luxury vacation experience, we have always strived for an inclusive experience that allows parents to have confidence in selecting our resorts, knowing their children can feel comfortable and safe, have fun and make lifelong memories.”

In 2017, Beaches Resorts became the first resort company in the world to be recognized by IBCCES as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) and, as part of their larger Sesame Street partnership, also introduced Julia, a four-year-old girl on the autism spectrum, who brought an exclusive new activity to Beaches Resorts: Amazing Art with Julia. Two years later, the resort company then became the first to attain the Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC), recognized by IBCCES.

“Like the rest of the world, we know families and autistic individuals are looking forward to traveling, visiting new places, and making new memories as soon as they are able to. They are also looking for organizations that are trained and certified in autism, particularly leaders like Beaches Resorts, who go above and beyond,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman and CEO. “The professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of the team at Beaches Resorts is second to none, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership to provide long-lasting support and impact.”

The Beaches Resorts ACAC recertification and extension builds on the existing measures in place to serve this specialized community as well as those with sensory sensitivities including:

• In-depth education for Beaches Resorts staff, with 40 credit hours on autism sensitivity and awareness, centered on communication, motor skills, social skills, environment awareness, emotional awareness, bullying, early childhood identification, transition to adulthood, and more.
• Advanced training with particular emphasis on the company’s Kids Camps, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Front Desk/Reception and Watersports operations.
• An annual onsite audit and review by the IBCCES team.
• Changes to protocols and physical space to accommodate various needs.
• An optional service of ‘One-on-One Beaches Buddy’ providing personalized, private childcare with a buddy who is autism certified, and can be pre-booked for a nominal fee.
• A dedicated toll-free number to Beaches’ Special Services Team, certified by IBCCES, and able to assist both consumers and travel professionals who wish to learn more about a Beaches vacation and on resort autism programming.
• A Culinary Concierge program to support specific dietary restrictions and special requests.
• Modified check-in options for private, in-room, check-in.
• Availability of sensory toys as well as DreamPad pillows for children’s use.
• Modified design and decoration in Kids Camps and key entertainment areas to create a more sensory-friendly environment.

“Beaches Resorts is ‘walking the walk’ in this space and while they are humble about their efforts to serve the autism community, it’s important to note that they were the first travel company to do it, and do it right!” said Holly Robinson Peete, actress, activist and philanthropist. “With first-hand experience as the mom of a child (RJ) with autism, this space is near and dear to me, and inclusive travel on this scale is rare. I continue to applaud Beaches Resorts – and return with my family – as it’s truly a place where we all feel welcome and can relax and enjoy quality time together” Robinson Peete concluded.

Additionally, Beaches Resorts’ industry-leading Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness were created with consideration of guests with sensory disorders. While first meeting rigorous health and safety standards, the resort company ensures the use of low-fragrance cleaners, fragrance-free hand sanitizers and other products to ensure guests with sensory disorders have an enjoyable and safe experience. Complimentary COVID-19 testing is also available to all registered guests at Beaches Resorts prior to their departure.

For more information on Beaches Luxury Included® Resorts and its longstanding commitment to creating an autism-friendly environment, please visit https://www.beaches.com/all-inclusive/autism-friendly/.

Caribbean News

Barbados to Host 41st Caribbean Travel Marketplace this Spring

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Barbados, February 2, 2023 – Barbados has been selected to host the 41st edition of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Travel Marketplace. The event will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown from May 9 -11, and it is expected to build on the success of the 40th staging held in Puerto Rico last fall.

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, who made the announcement recently, said it’s the first time in the organization’s history that the association’s largest annual event, which brings together buyers and sellers of the region’s tourism products and services, will be staged in Barbados.

“CHTA has a very strong relationship with both public and private sector stakeholders in Barbados, and as we position the region’s top earner for robust growth this year, we are delighted to lock arms with our Bajan partners to drive business to the Caribbean,” she stated.

Noting that: “This year’s Marketplace will also provide unique access to the Eastern Caribbean for buyers and tour operators as the region places a strong focus on the revival of multi-destination travel.”

Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados Ian Gooding-Edghill, said the Barbados tourism industry was undergoing a major renaissance in the post-COVID environment, and the timing could not be better to welcome Caribbean Travel Marketplace to local soil.

“We are honoured to host such a preeminent gathering of tourism stakeholders from around the world,”  Minister Gooding-Edghill said, noting that the meeting aligns with Barbados’ value offerings, which appeal, among others, to the very important MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions] market.

The launch of the first Caribbean Travel Forum & Awards, a highlight of the Puerto Rico meeting, will return for a second edition and will be held in Barbados on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, ahead of the official opening ceremony of Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

The Forum will also focus on the business of tourism, and business appointments will be conducted on Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday, May 11.

Over 150 delegates, including Ministers of Tourism and key private sector leaders, engaged in the Caribbean Travel Forum last year.

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Caribbean News

Guyana secures cryotherapy machines to help fight cervical cancer

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

 

#Guyana, February 2, 2023 – Guyana will see a significant boost to its healthcare system soon as the health ministry has acquired 20 cryotherapy machines to help treat and prevent cervical cancer, the second most prevalent cancer among women in the country.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, involves cooling the body’s tissues for therapeutic purposes and removing the abnormal tissue. This type of therapy is also used to treat many skin conditions and some cancers, including prostate, cervical and liver cancer.

The Health Ministry said the machines will help clear the backlog of patients needing such treatment.

Director of the Non-Communicable Diseases Programme of the Health Ministry, Dr. Latchmie Lall, said the equipment will be very instrumental in providing immediate service to patients.

“We are indeed very thankful for this donation of cryotherapy machines that were brought through the IDB project; a total of 20 machines that are going to be used to improve our screening services for cervical cancer; this will come as a great measure for not only screening but to provide immediate medical treatment in that if we do find a pathological cervix, cryotherapy can be applied immediately, and we have one healthy patient going back home to her family,” Dr. Lall said.

Director of Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Ertensia Hamilton, said the equipment comes at an opportune time when the ministry is extending its services for women of reproductive age across the country.

“We recognise that Guyana still has a high incidence of cervical cancer in our women, and so we want to be able to have services available to them as we work towards ensuring that each individual across their life course has services to meet their medical needs,” she said.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, during his comment, revealed that Guyana is trying to develop a comprehensive programme for cervical cancer.

“One of the things that we are trying to do is to have a comprehensive cervical cancer programme. The first level will be to prevent cervical cancer. We want to do that by encouraging people to get the HPV vaccination. We have these vaccines available. We have been rolling them out to ensure that every person eligible for these vaccines gets them.”

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