The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) applies strict criteria that sees local accommodation standards comparing most favourably with those around the world. This quality assurance system is spread across a range of accommodation types.

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The TGCSA star grading is valid for a year, where after a property must be re-assessed.

While star grading for the South African hospitality sector is a voluntary process, official recognition by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is a stamp of quality the majority of consumers tend to rely on.

The grading framework allows for the award of one to five stars based on quality of services and amenities, with five stars denoting the top of the range.

Star graded establishments are further divided into accommodation categories covering hotels, guest houses, country houses, B&Bs, self-catering establishments, backpackers & hostel amenities, camping & caravan parks and the meetings, exhibitions and special events category (MESE).

Independent assessors who have undergone training approved by the TGCSA undertake inspections of properties that apply for grading.

The assessors make their recommendations to an Awards Committee that ultimately decides on the number of stars an accommodation establishment qualifies for.

The criteria for quality assurance are strict and in keeping with international standards, and apply broadly to building exteriors, bedrooms, bathrooms, public areas, dining facilities, food and beverage outlets, services and service, and housekeeping.

To ensure credibility in measuring the star grading system, consumer feedback is encouraged on the TGCSA website.

The TGCSA sees itself as a collaborative partner in the hospitality industry's efforts to attain and maintain high standards. It was recently incorporated as a business unit of South African Tourism.

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