Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) has expanded its grading criteria. Picture: Pexels.

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA)has released a statement regarding their recently augmented its grading criteria.  
The grading council has added three new categories: apartment hotels, small hotels and boutique hotels and added accolades for properties that promote Responsible Tourism. 
Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer at South African Tourism, said the review of our grading system and criteria need to ensure both internationally benchmarked and competitive as a destination. 
“In South Africa in recent years, we have seen an upsurge in both new build apartment hotels as well as more intimate and unique boutique hotels.  We need to ensure we have the categorisation to respond to these new developments.
“One of the key reasons behind the triennial review of our criteria is the impact that technological enhancements are having on the hospitality sector and the overall guest experience.  
“For instance, the provision and access to Wi-Fi is fast becoming a very basic need and guest prerequisite at any category of accommodation. As this has happened, the TGCSA requirements for these categories needed remain current and relevant,” he said. One of the biggest developments in the newly released grading criteria amendments in the formal hotel categories is the amendment to the requirement for the provision of landline telephones in hotel bedrooms.

It is no longer a requirement to have a fixed line telephone in a hotel according to the new 2019 grading standards. Erasmus said this was solely due to the recent tech developments, which allow guests to connect with the hotel service outlets using new platforms and applications, as well as the ability to make outgoing calls using applications linked to the provision of Wi-Fi. Erasmus said South Africa recently had to deal with a number of environmental issues that have directly affected our tourism fraternity. They have since added an accolade to recognise properties that have adopted Responsible Tourism practices 

The TGCSA criteria for the Accolade for Responsible Tourism were sourced from the existing South African National Standard SANS 1162 for Responsible Tourism Standards. 
“The category and the star grading level awarded to properties annually are by far the most important for travel agents when recommending an establishment to a customer.  This indicates the type of product that will be encountered as well as the levels of product quality, variety of facilities and service standards to be expected by your guests,” he said.
Erasmus added, “The TGCSA is excited to implement these enhancements and allow our members to benefit from the new standards and differentiation value proposition.”