FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Andrew Garnett, President & CEO of Special Needs Group® / Special Needs at Sea® (SNG) www.specialneedsgroup.com, recently announced that they have far exceeded their goal of SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocates® (CATA®), certifying over 5,200 travel professionals. SNG launched its CATA program ― the travel industry's first certification program designed to equip travel professionals with insight and expertise to better serve the special needs, disability and mature market segments ― in November 2011.
SNG made the announcement at the beginning of SNG's 8th Inner Circle/Advisory Board gathering on Nov. 7.
Travel professionals achieve the designation by either successfully completing the online 3-module syllabus and meeting the mandated testing requirements, or successfully completing a live presentation and testing session. The certification program contains no commercial content or advertising. The goal of the program is to provide travel professionals with the essential knowledge required to effectively serve the most frequent needs of existing and potential clientele, who require mobility and other forms of special needs services.
"We are very happy that over 5,200 travel professionals have participated in our CATA program, and are now equipped to serve the constantly growing accessible travel market," said Garnett. "Over 60 million Americans are disabled, and millions more have acute and/or chronic special needs and mobility challenges.
"With CATA, travel professionals have a powerful resource when it comes to meeting the most common needs of these markets ― specifically mobility- and oxygen-related needs," he continued. "The certification program is designed to empower the trade with the tools to be great travel advisors and provide a comprehensive value proposition."
SNG's CATA program is available at specialneedsgroup.com/advisors. The certification is available, at no charge, to travel industry professionals who possess a valid industry identifier (ARC, IATA, CLIA, TRUE, etc.) Additionally, certification "jump-start" webinars can be scheduled and live/in-house training with onsite testing can be requested for large groups.
Many travel industry professionals have recognized SNG's commitment to educating those in the travel industry distribution system. Cathy Kusuma, senior director of strategic partnerships and agent engagement with Cruise Planners, said, "Cruise Planners always believed in the power of training and education when it comes to achieving and exceeding sales goals. The CATA certification is an all-encompassing course that gives travel agents the confidence they need to handle special needs requests and put their clients at ease when planning their vacations. Plus, it provides instant credibility for the travel advisor."
Mickey McBride, director of sales planning for Avoya Travel, stated, "The certification program is valuable because it helps travel agents increase their knowledge and expertise to best serve their clients with special needs. It impacts our advisors because it significantly contributes to their passion for helping clients, and provides them with the resources to be successful."
2018 SNG Power Partner
SNG also recognized Celebrity Cruises as its 2018 SNG Power Partner at SNG's 8th Inner Circle/Advisory Board gathering on Nov. 7. Celebrity Cruises was the first travel industry supplier team to have successfully completed the SNG CATA program.
"At the forefront of awareness and significance of special needs travel, Celebrity Cruises is highly deserving to be among those who have preceded it as a true Power Partner," said Garnett. "The company wholly embraces the special needs, mobility challenged and mature market segments."
About Special Needs Group® / Special Needs at Sea®
Special Needs Group® / Special Needs at Sea® is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals. It also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. Recommended by the world's major cruise lines for superior service and value, Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. Special Needs Group is the travel industry's only total special needs travel solution. Special Needs Group provides service in 215 ports and cities located in 68 countries. It is located at 302 NW 1st Street, Dania Beach, FL 33004. For more information, visit www.specialneedsgroup.com or call 1-800-513-4515.
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SOURCE Special Needs Group