Visit Lauderdale Continues to Enhance Inclusion and Accessibility


Sunflower Ribbon Cutting


FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (April 29, 2024) - Visit Lauderdale, the official destination marketing organization for Greater Fort Lauderdale, has expanded its partnership with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program as the Broward County Convention Center signs on as the first convention center in North America to adopt the program. On Monday, April 29, 2024, Visit Lauderdale hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the convention center from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.


The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is a simple tool for people with non-visible disabilities to voluntarily share that they may need extra assistance while traveling. Hidden disabilities can range from temporary cognitive conditions to physical, visual, sensory, and processing difficulties, to chronic health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, chronic pain, and sleep disorders.


“Visit Lauderdale is committed to providing everyone a safe and supportive environment and has long championed inclusion and accessibility tourism by removing barriers in the travel experience for everyone,” said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale.


According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the world’s population has some sort of disability.


“Accessible tourism allows all people to participate in and enjoy vacation experiences,” said Richard Gray, Senior Vice President of Inclusion and Accessibility at Visit Lauderdale. “Whether they have a hidden or unhidden disability, we want them to feel acknowledged and valued when they visit Greater Fort Lauderdale. Hopefully, they will return time and time again to discover new places and have great experiences.”  


The sunflower has become an internationally recognized symbol for raising awareness for people with hidden disabilities. As part of the program, the sunflower is displayed on lanyards, name badges, pins, wristbands, or a retractable sunflower ID card holder to let staff know that additional traveling support is needed.


All convention center employees will receive Hidden Disabilities Sunflower training and there is now a Zen Room in the convention center dedicated to providing a person with a hidden disability or a traveling companion with the support they need.


The program adds another welcoming dimension to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, as the program has been incorporated into Visit Lauderdale’s accessible tourism marketing and has been adopted by the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. 


“We are thrilled to welcome Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center to the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program. They are helping to blaze a path of accessibility and inclusion for people with non-visible disabilities both locally and nationally,” said Lynn Smith, Regional Director of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower USA.

For more information on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program, visit To learn more about Visit Lauderdale’s inclusion and diversity initiatives, visit


About Greater Fort Lauderdale 

With 24 miles of golden sand beaches and 300+ miles of navigable waterways, Greater Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America and Yachting Capital of the World. The area boasts an average year-round temperature of 77˚F, has 3,000+ hours of annual sunshine, and is home to 31 unique municipalities, including eight distinct beach communities, each offering something for “everyone under the sun.” Residents hailing from 170 countries, speaking 147 languages call this diverse destination home. And there’s good reason, including the area’s unwavering commitment to accessibility and inclusion. Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), a five-minute drive will get you to the beach, Port Everglades, the newly expanded Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, and a bustling downtown. Experience 4,000+ eateries, a thriving arts and culture scene, craft breweries, stunning rooftop bars, fishing, diving, and the unmatched beauty of the Florida Everglades. From world-class shopping, to boating, yachts and superyachts all moored at the area’s many marinas, it’s no wonder Greater Fort Lauderdale is one of the most desirable places to stay, work and play. The destination has more than 38,000 unique lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and beautifully appointed, boutique properties, all reflecting the area’s cosmopolitan vibe. 


About Visit Lauderdale 
Visit Lauderdale is the official destination marketing organization for Greater Fort Lauderdale and serves as the tourism department for Broward County, Florida. Visit Lauderdale promotes the area’s 31 municipalities to a global audience of leisure and business travelers as the ideal place for Everyone Under the Sun in recognition of the area’s diverse and welcoming vibe, and books conventions into the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and area hotels and resorts. Find more information and follow @VisitLauderdale on FacebookInstagramX and YouTube.


About the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower:

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower enables individuals to discreetly indicate that they have a non-visible disability and may need additional assistance, understanding, or more time. Since Hidden Disabilities Sunflower was established in the UK in 2016, it has been adopted globally by businesses and charities to support their colleagues and customers. The Sunflower is recognized across a broad range of sectors - ranging from retail, financial services, transport including over 200 airports, travel and tourism, education, government, as well as healthcare, emergency service and entertainment. Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is available globally and has been launched locally in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Latin America, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UAE, the UK and the USA. Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is part of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited, a private company based in the UK. For further information visit: