The importance of tourism grading

Obtaining a Tourism Council grading for your bed and breakfast, guest house or hotel might not seem important, especially if you own a small establishment, but it's actually vital for long-term success. Tourists and business travellers alike are more likely to stay at a graded establishment than in one without a grading, as they can then be assured of predictable and guaranteed levels of quality.

Grading is particularly important in view of the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup. It's the biggest single sporting event in the world, and will be a showcase for the country's tourism industry and tourist establishments. It's also certain that the discerning international travellers expected for the World Cup, who are used to the grading system, will be looking for quality they know they can count on.

How do I get grading?

Applications for grading need to be made through the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), which sets down a range of minimum requirements.  

To begin with, the establishment must have public liability insurance cover in order to qualify, and suitable safety and security measures must be in place for both clients and staff. It must also be a registered business, be in possession of a Health and Safety Certificate, comply with smoking legislation, and must ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination against either clients or staff.

In addition to these basic requirements, hospitality establishments are graded according to a five-star system, depending on facilities, features and quality. Establishments with one star, for instance, are reliably fair to good, while those with five stars offer luxurious accommodation and exceptional quality.

To a large extent, the star grading system is dependent on customer feedback, and the TGCSA encourages active consumer participation in the process. It believes that the greater the level of participation, the more reliable the star grading system is.

In addition to the usual benefits of Tourism Council grading, there are three main benefits to obtaining grading in preparation for the 2010 World Cup:

  • Graded establishments will be accredited accommodation providers for the event, and will have the opportunity of being selected as official accommodation providers
  • They will be advertised in the official 2010 accommodation brochure
  • MATCH will ensure that potential visitors are genuine and creditworthy

Other benefits will include listings with tour operators, publicity, and support and promotion from South African Tourism. Also, government employees will only be using graded establishments for their accommodation needs during the event; alternative accommodation will not be considered.

So, if you want to be in the running to benefit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, apply for Tourism Council grading as soon as possible.

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