Tourism Grading Council launches roadshowFebruary 22nd, 2012 by Susan Reynard | Categories: government, industry, tourism, training
The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) believes that service levels and hospitality standards in South Africa need to be globally competitive, and the industry needs to embrace a benchmark system that international tourists recognise as a guarantee of quality and value for money in tourism infrastructure, products and offerings. Star grading is promoted as a universally accepted indicator of levels of service, facilities and cost.
The TGCSA has embarked on a national roadshow during this last week of February 2012, during which its staff are visiting every province to recruit more businesses into the fold of graded establishments. The organisation is explaining the numerous competitive benefits that come with being graded and giving evidence of significant dividends delivered against investment in seeking and securing star grading.
Grading gives the hospitality industry a global network of businesses with which they are automatically aligned in the minds of tourists. The phrase ‘five-star’, for example, has powerful resonance in the mind of a consumer shopping for a holiday. And it gives the establishment that has earned that grading a significant competitive edge. Consumers know what to expect from a graded establishment. They know how much to expect to pay.
The provincial roadshow follows the significant overhauling of grading criteria two years ago. Thembi Kunene, chief quality assurance officer at TGCSA, says slightly more than 5 000 establishments in the country are presently graded. However, with 17 000 establishments not enjoying the benefits of being graded, the council says there is much to be done to invite them into the fold and work with the larger industry to power up South Africa’s global destination competitiveness.
“Grading is an entirely voluntary process. But the benefits are immense,” she says. “Graded establishments enjoy the powerful marketing platforms of national destination marketing organisation, South African Tourism. They enjoy the personal advice and consultative services of an expert grading assessor. They enjoy being prioritised for government business and they are able to rightfully claim independent endorsement of their quality, service, standards and reliability.”
The provincial roadshow, she adds, are a key component of the TGCSA’s commitment to integrity and transparency. They provide a platform for everyone, both graded and ungraded establishments, to talk to senior members of TGCSA, ask questions and interrogate the grading process as it applies (or would apply) to them.
Last year’s roadshow was declared a success not only for TGCSA, but also for thousands of business owners who came to learn more about grading, and to network with each other. Those events focused on the minimum grading criteria and entry requirements. This year the roadshows will focus on the benefits of grading and how grading boosts the national and global competitiveness not only of establishments, but also of the larger destination.
Star graded establishments enjoy:
- Preferential listing on the TGCSA and South African Tourism global web pages;
- Government departments only procure accommodation and/or conferencing venues from graded establishments;
- Only graded establishments get an opportunity to advertise in the Star Guide, the official guide to graded establishments in South Africa. This guide is distributed to all South African Tourism’s offices worldwide and to all the South African embassies abroad;
- Only graded establishments are eligible to enter the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (ETEYA);
- South African Tourism only procures accommodation or conferencing facilities from graded establishments when hosting both local and international trade and media; and
- Graded establishments benefit from various training courses provided by South African Tourism. These include, but are not limited to, speed marketing exercises at home and in the key markets; and product packing and bundling for purposes of itinerary sales and planning.
Dates for the roadshows were provided, as follows (please check on website or with TGCSA regarding confirmation of all dates, venues and times):
- North West – Rustenburg: 21 Feb; Hunters Rest Hotel, R24
- Eastern Cape – Port Elizabeth: 23 Feb; Pine Lodge, 1 Marine Drive
- Eastern Cape – East London: 24 Feb; Regent Hotel, 22 Esplanade, Beachfront
- Free State – Bloemfontein: 28 Feb; Protea Hotel Bloem Central, Bloem Plaza, East Burger St
- Limpopo – Polokwane: 1 Mar; Meropa Casino & Ent. World, Plot 59 Sterkloop, Roodepoort Rd
- KwaZulu-Natal – Durban: 2 Mar; DICC, 45 Bram Fischer Rd, Durban
- Mpumalanga – Nelspruit: 19 Mar; Protea Winkler Hotel, R538 Numbi Gate Rd, White River
- Mpumalanga – Witbank: 20 Mar; Protea Witbank, 167 Jellicoe St, Witbank
- Northern Cape – Kimberley: 27 Mar; Southern Sun Garden Court, 120 Du Toitspan Rd
- Western Cape – Knysna: 2 Apr; Simola Hotel, Old Cape Road
- Western Cape – Robertson: 3 Apr; Graham & Rhona Beck Skills Centre, R60, Riverside/Goree Rd
- Western Cape – Cape Town: 4 Apr; CTICC, 1 Lower Long St
- Gauteng – Soweto: 11 Apr; Ubuntu Kraal, 11846 Senokoanyana St, Orlando West Ext
- Gauteng – Johannesburg: 12 Apr; Gallagher Estate, 19 Richards Dr, Midrand
For more information on the 2012 roadshows please go to www.tourismgrading.co.za/roadshow.
On 21 February the roadshow was in Rustenburg in the North West and on 23 February is headed for Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. Seen here is Thembi Kunene, chief quality assurance officer of the Tourism Grading Council of SA, presenting at the roadshow.