SA’s accommodation grading programme, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is set to roll out some big changes, with new categories for apartment hotels and small hotels being added and the introduction of a five-star premium category, amongst other amendments.
Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer of the TGSCA, says the amendments have taken time to process and bring into law. The major changes include the following:
- Two new categories have been introduced within the grading system: Apartment Hotels, and the Small Hotel category. This brings the total number of categories up to 13, where there were previously 11.
- A Five-Star Premium category has also been introduced. “This category will be a game-changer,” says Erasmus, “and allow properties a new level of factors with which to differentiate themselves. These will range from quality of the product, to furniture and fittings, and level of service”.
- Accolades will now give facilities an opportunity to receive an accolade within their niche market – be it family accommodation (where elements like having a nanny service, play area, children’s menu, etc would come into play), or other niche markets including covering pet-friendly venues, wine tourism, birding, golfing, 4x4, wellness, or a wedding venue. “Venues will be able to achieve multiple accolades,” adds Erasmus, should they meet the respective criteria.
- The Responsible Tourism accolade is an important amendment to the 2018 Grading System, which takes into account the South African National Standards (SANS) 1162 criteria for responsible tourism.
- There will further be a move away from the term “MICE”, towards the term “Venues”, within the amendments.
The above points highlight the major changes to the amendments, with the full list of amendments available here.
“The TGCSA will only be implementing the amendments in April 2019, to give the industry time to understand and adjust to the requirements,” says Erasmus. “We will be embarking on a nationwide roadshow over February and March 2019 to explain the changes, so that the industry understands exactly what they are, and has sufficient time to make the necessary adjustments in order to comply,” says Erasmus.