SA tourism standards up for debate: What would you rate as 5-star?

2018-06-19 12:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Check-in at hotel.

Photo: iStock.

With tourism being a major contributor to South Africa’s economy it is vital to ensure that processes are in place to maintain high standards of tourism offerings.

Providing tourists with accurate and honest information about where they can stay and what they can experience, while ensuring value for money, is important in maintaining their trust and promoting the country as a destination to visit.

To ensure organisations in the tourism industry are living up to the standards that they promise, as well as in line with globally recognised standards, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) was established in 2000, as part of South African Tourism.

SEE: PICS: 'Filthy' Magaliesburg stay shows why checking for accommodation grading is vital

TGCSA serves as the quality assurance body for tourism offerings in SA, ensuring globally recognisable grading using a benchmarked system.

The National Department of Tourism is accepting public comments on the draft National Tourism Grading System for Tourism, with the aim of maintaining or enhancing the standards and quality of tourism services, facilities and products.

ALSO SEE: SA Tourism Grading Council rolls out new-look to combat theft and grading confusion

Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom published the draft Grading System and invited interested organisations and parties to submit their written representations on the draft within 30 days of publication of the notice.

Now’s your chance to have a say on SA’s grading standards, so be sure to send your comments. Written comments can be emailed to, faxed to 012 444 7107, or posted to The Director-General, Department of Tourism, Private Bag X424, 0001. One may also hand-deliver their feedback to the reception at Tourism House, 17 Trevenna Street, Sunnyside.

For inquiries call MM Setwaba on 012 444 6312. Click here for the full gazette and more information.

Rewarding the best in tourism

Another initiative that ensures maintaining high quality of standards in the tourism industry is the Lilizela Tourism Awards.

The Awards recognises and rewards those individuals and businesses that place SA high as a must-visit tourist destination and honours the “best of the best” products, experiences and people in SA's tourism sector.

Voting for your favourite tourism establishments is now open, with the submission for entries having closed on 8 June. Click here to vote.

See highlights from the 2017 Awards here: SA's tourism shines bright at annual Lilizela Awards

South African Tourism encourages the public to vote for the best players in the industry saying, "We need to hear about your experiences so that we can reward the best South African tourism establishments with a Lilizela Tourism Award."

"We have created platforms and processes to make it easy for you to make your voice heard about our industry. We invite you to get involved, comment and vote for the best tourism experiences and products in South Africa," says SAT to the public, adding that public comment keeps the industry globally competitive and encourages it to go further and do better.