New grading fees

With the implementation of the new Grading Criteria and Minimum Requirements in October 2010, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) introduced an equitable grading fee structure in order to address the inequalities that existed in the previous grading fee structure, writes Des Langkilde.

Established in September 2000 by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr Valli Moosa, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is the only officially recognised quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa. Operating as a business unit of South African Tourism, the TGCSA’s vision is to implement a recognisable and credible globally benchmarked system of quality assurance for accommodation and MESE (Meetings Exhibitions and Special Events) experiences, which can be relied upon by visitors when making their choice of establishment.

The previous grading criteria were originally introduced in 2002. Inconsistencies in the application of the grading criteria and minimum requirements, coupled with inadequate management processes and systems, led to a lack of uniformity in the awarding of stars.

The process to revise the grading system, which was started in 2008, has been extremely thorough and has resulted in world-class standards of which we as South Africans can be extremely proud. The process entailed not only a review of the grading criteria and minimum requirements but also an overhaul of the entire operating system of the TGCSA in order to ensure a seamless process of managing quality assurance for tourism products.

A significant amount of time and energy was spent during this process in fine-tuning the criteria to get them right for the industry. The aim was to not only ensure that South Africa can maintain its international competitiveness as a tourist destination, but indeed to show that South Africa can be world leaders in terms of quality assurance.

“We are very grateful for the cooperation and contributions of thousands of establishments and a variety of industry stakeholders, including the FEDHASA (Federated Hospitality Industry of South Africa) family of members, other associations such as SATSA (the South African Tourism Services Association), BABASA (the Bed and Breakfast Association of South Africa) and NAA-SA (the National Accommodation Association of South Africa) as well as the current Accredited Grading Assessors, said Thekiso Rakolojane, TGCSA Marketing & Communications Manager.

This grading fee takes into account the establishment’s star grading level (1 – 5 STARS), the average room rate charged by the establishment, as well as the number of rooms, units or sites.

TGCSA have also made a commitment that in implementing this fee structure, they would ensure that their annual grading fee increases are considerate and market related. In keeping with this commitment, the Grading fees effective 01 October 2012 have only increase by 6% in line with CPIX.

The table of fees can be downloaded at:

It is important for all tourism industry members to use and promote Star Graded establishments, to help bring about the highest levels of quality assurance, the best possible value for money and the recognition that customer expectations are paramount in this country.

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