New TGCSA grading criteria set to improve SA’s competitive edge

Grading criteria
3 min read

In a bid to advance and maintain a recognisable, credible and globally benchmarked system of quality assurance for accommodation and venues in South Africa, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is pleased to announce that the new and revised grading standards for South Africa have been approved by Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom and now gazetted for implementation from 01 April 2019.

The new grading criteria include the introduction of two new categories in the form of “apartment hotels” and “small hotels” in which the luxury form (boutique hotels) would be encompassed. In addition to this, grading levels have been enhanced and will now also include a new 5-Star Premium grading level which is a recognition reserved for the pinnacle of luxury product in South Africa and will only be for those products that far exceed premium expectations with respect to quality standards and service excellence.

The TGCSA has also introduced a new dimension to grading which allows for properties to capitalize on niche market differentiation. This new addition termed “accolades” includes insignia and criteria for niche markets such as child-friendly, pet-friendly, wedding venues, spa and wellness facilities, 4×4 etc. A full list of accolades will be available on the website in the coming weeks.

Responsible Tourism also forms part of accolades offering, with the sole purpose of encouraging tourism businesses to operate more responsibly and limit the impact of their business on the environment. The South African National Standards(SANS) 1162 formed the basis of the compilation of the criteria attached to the Responsible Tourism accolade. The Responsible Tourism accolade is a recognition mechanism and not an accreditation nor a certification.

“The approved enhancements to the grading system create greater value for our members and will further aid the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa in upholding and improving the competitive positioning of South Africa as a quality destination,” says Darryl Erasmus, Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s Chief Quality Assurance Officer.

“The implementation date of 01 April 2019 offers sufficient time for us to consult and socialize the revised grading system with all stakeholders. It will also enable our members to ready themselves for their next assessments based on the revised criteria,” he added.

To educate and bring understanding of the enhanced grading system and criteria, the TGCSA will be embarking on a national familiarization initiative campaign through a tourism trade roadshow during February and March of 2019. Exact dates will be communicated and advertised extensively in the near future. Furthermore, the TGCSA owned platforms including the website are being updated to include downloadable versions of the criteria.

“This would not have been possible without the participation of our valued stakeholders and we are immensely grateful for their involvement. I would like thank the industry for their contributions and inputs as well as their patience whilst the TGCSA completed this revision process. The valuable inputs of all our stakeholders have resulted in a set of criteria that are globally competitive, yet uniquely South African,” concludes Erasmus

To date 5178 establishments are graded across the country. Star grading provides real partnership that unlocks business growth. Grading also assists the travel trade to understand the offerings and match supply and demand. Moreover, it facilitates the monitoring of hotel inventory and accommodation standards.

As part of recognising and rewarding those tourism business people who work passionately and with pride to deliver world-class products and services in contributing to growing South Africa’s global destination competitiveness, the National Lilizela Tourism Awards, will take place will on Saturday the 17 of November 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Established in September 2002, TGCSA operates as a business unit of South African Tourism and is the only officially recognized quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa. The process to revise the Grading system was started in 2008 is reviewed every three years to ensure globally competitiveness and relevance.

The most respected entity with the right resources and knowledge to grade establishments, TGCSA awards the only stars worth trusting.