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June 27, 2017

Sub-Saharan Africa: Darryl Erasmus on Tourism Grading

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Darryl Erasmus has been the Chief Quality Assurance Officer at the Tourism Grading Council South Africa since 2015, and prior to that worked across travel, tourism, and ICT industries across the country. He shares why tourism grading is beneficial for establishments, and what we can expect in the next year. 

What’s new at the TGCSA in 2017? What trends in the tourism industry are you using to implement and innovate within the organisation?

The TGCSA has a number of projects underway. The largest and most comprehensive is the triennial review of our Grading Criteria which is currently in its final stages. We are also in the final stages of a detailed research piece into the perceptions of Grading and the TGCSA. The TGCSA in collaboration with the National Department of Tourism have also streamlined the Grading Support Programme, which allow for up to a 90% discount on grading fees.

Take us through the details of the proposed Premium 5 Star Grading.

The proposal of the introduction of a Premium 5 Star grading is part of the proposed Criteria changes to the grading system that is currently with the Ministry for approval. As soon as approval is received, we will be in a position to share much more information about this development.

Why is it important for tourism and hospitality venues to be graded by the council? What are the benefits of having a star grading? 

Star Grading in South Africa is voluntary, therefore the 5 300-odd establishments that have met our stringent minimum standards and quality criteria, are commended. They are the pinnacles of the hospitality industry as they contribute toward positioning South Africa as a quality assured destination of choice for both business events and leisure tourists. Star grading is a market positioning tool used by establishments to communicate the quality and service offering travellers can expect at their establishment. 

How often are hospitality venues inspected, and how do inspections of such a variety of establishments work?

Star grading is an annual process. Establishments must renew their star grading membership by paying their renewal invoices which will the enable the accredited grading assessor to conduct the renewal assessment. An establishment is assessed on the following:

  • The exterior of the building and grounds
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Public Areas
  • General Facilities

The minimum requirements in each category differ; i.e. requirements for a bed and breakfast will differ from those of a self-catering shared-use establishment (resort). It is a requirement to have a store that is used by the patrons at a resort but the same is not required at a guest house. A bed and breakfast is defined as a more informal accommodation with limited service that is provided in a family (private) home with the owner or manager living in the house or on the property.

What tips would you give someone entering the tourism industry wanting to have their establishment graded by the TGCSA?

  • Get in contact with us. www.tourismgrading.co.za so that we can share information and benefits of being graded.
  • When graded, use our star grading system and the Star Insignia to position yourself in the market to ensure a competitive edge again other competitors.
  • Join an Association such as NAA-SA and FEDHASA to ensure you participate in their training, development, networking and support programmes.

What are the TGCSA’s goals and plans for the rest of 2017 and into 2018?

TGCSA will continue to invest in growing our number of graded establishments in order to position South Africa as a quality assured destination. We will support all South African Tourism’s leisure and business events marketing efforts. The team will communicate and educate both Trade partners and consumers on the grading system and its benefits. We will continuously revise and revisit our value offering to ensure that establishment owners see the benefit of the star grading and utilise their access to South African Tourism’s marketing platforms.

How healthy would you say SA’s hospitality industry is, and what opportunities have you seen emerge for establishments?

The hospitality industry is in a very good space, in my opinion. Whilst we must continue to support our SMME’s and champion transformation of the sector, it’s very exciting to see a number of new hotel developments by both local and international brands currently underway across the country.


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