The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) made their mark on the Zambian tourism landscape recently, when they assisted the country’s tourism agency in developing their grading system.
The TGCSA, the only officially recognised quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa, assisted the Zambian Tourism Agency (ZTA), who are embarking on a project to grade all hotels in Zambia, and improve service delivery in the hospitality industry.
Thanks to bilateral agreements between South Africa and Zambia, TGCSA has been assisting Zambia since 2017 to develop the grading system. The ZTA is using an adaptation of TGCSA’s criteria, and currently has 32 grading assessors, some of whom travelled to South Africa in July this year to attend the Assessor Accreditation training programme. The assessors also received a valuable five-day training session from TGCSA last month, which covered theory and practical assessments, and concluded with an exam.
“It is a privilege to have partnered with TGCSA, and benefit from the skills and experience from this globally credible quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa,” said Felix Chaila, Chief Executive Officer of Zambia Tourism Agency.
“Through learning and being guided and supported by TGCSA, we not only benefit as a tourism body, but as a country as a whole. With South Africa’s robust, relevant and consistent grading programme as a benchmark, we can benefit the local tourism authority by improving service delivery, and we can boost local travel, increase morale, and drive more tourism to our country.”
As a result of this training and partnership, Zambia now has a pool of qualified assessors who are ready to grade tourism establishments. Grading in the country will provide tourists assurance that establishments have been assessed and approved by ZTA. It also gives a reasonable indication of expected services and offerings and helps travellers to find places of accommodation that provide value for money and are of a standard that they want.
For establishments and the tourism industry, it shows a commitment to quality, allows for standards to be implemented, and leads to overall improved service and reliability within the industry. Grading also helps travel agents to understand the offerings and match supply and demand. It also facilitates the monitoring of hotel inventory and accommodation standards.
Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance and Chief Experience Officer at TGCSA, said that collaborative tourism efforts between African countries can only assist in improving the continent’s quality positioning and market share when it comes to global tourist numbers. Erasmus, who travelled to Zambia in December 2017 for initial engagements and to provide grading system guidelines, said that by advancing all countries from a tourism point of view, the entire continent wins.
“By combining and sharing our experience with new grading partners such as Zambia, we show the world we have ratings that are credible and consistent,” commented Erasmus. “Collaboration is key to improving our segment as it is instrumental in making positive strides in tourism, and affecting growth not only in Zambia, but in Africa.”