Six-star wars coming soon to a hotel near you
SA's tourism grading council is taking the country's accommodation establishments up a notch
Six-star hotels in SA.
That’s what SA’s tourism grading scheme is planning after gazetting new and revised grading standards for accommodation establishments and venues.
This includes launching a new 5-Star Premium grading level that will be reserved for “the pinnacle of luxury” establishments in country.
Tourism minister Derek Hanekom announced details of the enhancements to the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s (TGCSA) grading system at the recent annual Lilizela Tourism Awards at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Hanekom said it was part of efforts “to advance and maintain a recognisable, credible and globally benchmarked system of quality assurance for accommodation and venues in South Africa”.
Implementation of the new standards would start from April 2019.
“The enhancements to the grading system will further assist the TGCSA in upholding and improving the competitive positioning of South Africa as a quality destination,” he said.
The body is looking to add a new “6-star” grade for uber-luxurious establishments. However, the TGCSA has opted to officially refer to this new grading level as 5-Star Premium in terms of the gazetted changes on the cards.
Hanekom explained: “Grading levels have been enhanced and will now also include a new 5-Star Premium grading level, which is a recognition reserved for the pinnacle of luxury product in South Africa. This will only be for those products that far exceed premium expectations with respect to quality standards and service excellence.”
He added: “The new grading criteria will include the introduction of two new categories in the form of ‘apartment hotels’ and ‘small hotels’ (which includes boutique hotels) ... The new standards will also introduce the term accolades. It will include insignia and criteria for niche markets such as child-friendly, pet-friendly, wedding venues, spa and wellness facilities, amongst others.”
Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer at the TGCSA, said the council would embark on a national familiarisation initiative with the tourism trade, through a roadshow during February and March 2019.
“The implementation date of April 1 2019 offers sufficient time for us to consult and socialise the revised grading system with all stakeholders. It will also enable our members to ready themselves for their next assessments based on the revised criteria,” he said.
To date, more than 5,170 establishments have been graded across the country by the TGCSA, and there are more than 500 five-star establishments in the country.
The TGCSA was set up in September 2002 and operates as a business unit of South African Tourism. The council is the only officially recognised quality assurance body for tourism products in SA and reviews its standards every three years to ensure global competitiveness and relevance.