According to Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), the value of grading tourism establishments lies in the quality assurance that underpins visitors’ experience.

The TGCSA was established in the early 2000s with a mandate to ensure there are quality tourism products in SA. It is responsible to ensure that the quality of products and the experience from a lodging perspective when sold internationally live up to expectations. Currently grading is on a voluntary basis.

In SA the star grading system – from 1 to 5 stars – is used as an indicator of quality. According to Erasmus, this works well as properties can position themselves, including from a commercial perspective.

Be it a Hotel, Bed & Breakfast, Self Catering, Caravan, and Camping or Conference Venue that you own, or run, the advantages of being graded by the TGCSA are endless.

  1. Once your establishment has been graded and displays the TGCSA Star insignia, it takes a single glance for local and international visitors to recognize your quality and service excellence.
  2. You will also receive a number of invaluable benefits as a TGCSA partner.
  3. It is important for every establishment in the Travel and Tourism industry to use and promote TGCSA Star Graded establishments. In doing so, the highest level of quality assurance, promotion of optimal value for money and  ‘customer expectation’  is given the paramount position it deserves.

The TGCSA’s Grading Criteria has come a very long way since its inception in 2002. Today it is far more precise, follows stringent rules and has brought about world-class quality. They have reviewed their grading standards and fine-tuned their entire TGCSA operating system.

Much time and energy have gone into setting grading standards that best suit the Tourism industry. This helps in maintaining South Africa’s international competitiveness as a tourist destination.

Following an extensive consultation process with industry and stakeholders, TGCSA’s updated Grading Criteria and Minimum Requirements that must be met in order for establishments to fall into the six categories became active.

Brief Grading Criteria and Minimum Requirements: Game/Nature Lodges

  • A Game / Nature / Wilderness Lodge (incl. Private Nature Reserves) is a formal accommodation facility providing formal and informal services, located in natural surroundings beyond that of an immediate garden area and located in a natural setting usually, but not always, away from human settlements.
  • Scenic or natural vista (beyond that of the immediate garden area) e.g.: water view, rural outlook, mountain view or natural bush setting offering some Safari Activity such as Game Drives, Walking, Cycling, Horseback, Canoeing etc.)…
  • If the hosts/managers are accommodated in the same facility, then there need to be separate living areas for them. The host/representative must be contactable 24 hours, 7 days per week.
  • The Host / Manager on duty must be available to check guests in/out or within a maximum of a 10-minute drive from the property.
  • Daily servicing of the rooms must be included in the tariff.
  • Shared facilities (not with the host) must be a minimum of a guest dining room and guest lounge area.
  • Bathroom facilities must be en-suite. If not, exclusive use of bathroom facilities per room is ensured.
  • Meals and beverages must be provided (may/may not be prepared by the property).
  • Servicing of rooms 7 days a week. (This includes linen/towel change, removal of rubbish and cleaning) For linen/towel change, a ‘No change’ option may be available (i.e. eco-wise policy).
  • Provide at least one guided experience and or activity i.e. natural or cultural experiences to the guest organized by the establishment which may or may not is included in the rate.
  • Guests should have a reasonable probability of seeing/experiencing i.e.: flora and fauna, viewing specific species of animal as stated in the marketing of the establishment.
  • If the lodge specified is advertised as a ‘Game Lodge’. The animals provided on the Game Lodge need to be free roaming and not contained in enclosures. An endangered, indigenous/ specific species can be housed inadequately spaced viewing areas, which should as closely as possible resemble the natural environment of the animals.
  • Convenient, secure and well-lit car parking facilities must be made available when required. Due consideration to be given to the customer-friendliness of the parking facilities and the proximity to the accommodation facilities. Should no parking be available, a guest shuttle service should be provided.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Formal Service Accommodation (Hotel/Lodge)

A hotel provides formal accommodation with full or limited service to the traveling public. A hotel has a reception area and offers a dining facility. A hotel must have a minimum of 4 rooms.

A Lodge is a formal accommodation facility providing full or limited service, located in natural surroundings beyond that of an immediate garden area, without any Game.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Guest Accommodation (B&B, Country House, Guest House)

Bed and Breakfast: More informal accommodation with limited service that is provided in a family (private) home with the owner/manager living in the house or on the property.

Guest House: Can be an existing home, a renovated home or a building that has been specifically designed as a residential dwelling to provide overnight accommodation, must have more than three rooms and public areas for the exclusive use of its guests.

Country House: Can be an existing home, a renovated home or a building that has been specifically designed as a residential dwelling to provide overnight accommodation, which has public areas for the exclusive use of its guests. Situated in natural, peaceful surroundings.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Self Catering Accommodation – Exclusive and Shared Purpose

Exclusive Use

Self-catering accommodation styles for Exclusive Use include Apartments – Unit/s within a multi-complex dwelling and Villas – Free-standing residential dwellings.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Shared Vacation

This refers to Lifestyle Apartments – Multi self-contained accommodation with limited communal facilities and amenities as these are within close proximity and must have a formal reception Area and Lifestyle Resorts – Multi self-contained accommodation with onsite facilities and amenities.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Backpackers and Hostelling Accommodation 

A backpacker and or hostel is an accommodation facility that provides communal facilities, including dormitories, yet may offer a range of alternative sleeping arrangements. Only establishments that cater for transient guests (traveling public) will qualify for grading.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Caravan and Camping Accommodation 

A Caravan and Camping Park is a facility that provides space for guests who provide their own accommodation, such as a tent, a motorhome and/or a caravan, together with ablution and toilet facilities.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events (MESE) Venues 

A facility that provides a dedicated environment for meetings, especially small to medium sized events. Dedicated meeting and breakaway rooms are designed for maximum productivity. To minimize distractions, these rooms tend to be separated from food service facilities and high traffic areas. Meeting rooms are clustered near one another and interspersed with informal gathering spaces, such as lounges, patios, and courtyards. This layout encourages interaction and networking among attendees, even those participating in different meetings.

For a detailed breakdown, please click here

Source: TGCSA








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