VISALIA NAMED TOP DESTINATION FOR NEURODIVERSE TRAVELERS

Seven Accessible Destinations Chosen by Travel+Leisure Magazine


Visalia, Calif. (AUGUST 31, 2023) -  Visit Visalia, gateway to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, is among seven worldwide trip destinations reported by Travel + Leisure Magazine as top a pick for neurodiverse travelers in a recent article by Lisa Kadane, parent of a neurodiverse teen. 

The city of Visalia is proud of its distinction as the country’s first Certified Autism Destination™. The staff at tourism-related organizations throughout the city, such as hotels, attractions, and visitor services, have taken training to better understand what autism is (and isn’t), apply empathy and learn how neurodiverse individuals experience the world. The certification training included developing skills to communicate more effectively, and to be aware of common sensitivities, triggers and de-escalation services in unfamiliar, high traffic and recreational environments.

To date, 40% of Visalia’s lodging properties earned the Certified Autism Center™ designation by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. The list includes Visalia Wyndham Hotel, Visalia Marriott Hotel, Lamp Liter Inn, Hampton Inn Visalia, Visalia Comfort Suites and the Best Western Visalia. 

Family-friendly attractions such as Imagine U Children’s Museum, Visalia Adventure Park, and Mooney Grove Museum, have also undergone the specialized training for certification. The Visalia Fox Theatre, Valley Oaks Golf Course, Arts Visalia, and Downtown Visalians, a local merchant organization, add to the list of designated Certified Autism Centers™.

The city’s inclusive efforts extend beyond this designation to include the “Hidden Disabilities Sunflower” program. Visit Visalia offers sunflower lanyards and bracelets complimentary to travelers, upon request. When worn, the sunflower serves as a visual cue to trained hospitality staff throughout Visalia that a traveler may need additional support during their visit.

Travel + Leisure is a travel media brand, with its mission to inform and inspire passionate travelers. The print and electronic magazine covers small towns and big cities, hidden gems and tried-and-true destinations, beaches and lakes, mountains and valleys, national parks and outdoor adventures, road trips and cruises, fine-dining experiences and secret hole-in-the-wall establishments, and everything in between.


Travelers can view the complete list of Visalia’s Certified Autism Centers and learn more about this initiative at https://www.visitvisalia.com/autism-travel-. For more information on inclusive and accessible travel to Visalia and the nearby Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, go to https://www.visitvisalia.com/accessible-travel.

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ABOUT VISIT VISALIA: 

Visit Visalia is a collaboration of the Visalia Tourism and Marketing District and the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB) dedicated to marketing, advertising, public relations and other promotional efforts that inspire travel to the City of Visalia. Visit Visalia works closely with local lodging properties, restaurants and attractions to foster interest in Visalia as a year-round destination for leisure, family, and meeting and convention travelers. For more information about Visit Visalia go to www.VisitVisalia.com and follow Visit Visalia on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:

These two parks, which lie-side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada in Central California, serve as a prime example of nature’s size, beauty, and diversity. Nearly 2 million visitors from across the U.S. and the world visit these parks for the world’s largest trees (by volume), grand mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, the highest point in the lower 48 states, and more. Learn more at http://www.nps.gov/seki

Media Contact:

Visit Visalia
Suzanne Bianco, Tourism Marketing Director
Suzanne@VisitVisalia.com
(559) 334-0141

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©2024 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141
Visitor Center Hours
Monday - Friday 8am-5pm