Tourism Grading Council of South Africa
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. More than 50% of the country's room inventory is graded under this system.
The grading framework allows for the award of 1 to 5 stars based on quality of services and amenities, with 5 stars denoting the top of the range. Star graded establishments are further divided into accommodation categories, namely hotels, guest houses, country houses, B&Bs, self-catering establishments, backpackers & hostelling 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 - very 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 is not a policing body, but 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.