When you are booking accommodation, how important to you is it whether the hotel, guesthouse or B&B has a star grading?
In our reader poll, the overwhelming majority said it was a nice-to-have, but not essential indication of quality. Only four said it wasn’t important at all.
To earn their stars, establishments now have to meet a new, stricter set of criteria introduced by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) over the past couple of years. The aim was to put Brand South Africa on a par with the rest of the world by offering quality-assured accommodation at the different levels, said Thembi Kunene, chief quality assurance officer, at TGCSA’s roadshow to update accommodation owners in Cape Town last week.
When the system was being revamped, there were a lot of complaints from the accommodation industry, including that the new standards were too Eurocentric, and many opted out of the star grading system. After serious consultations with stakeholders, which resulted in some adjustments, the new criteria are now in place and assessors have been retrained. The plaques denoting the number of stars earned has been redesigned and use of the outdated ones is now illegal.
Caravan parks and backpacking lodges are also being offered star grading. At a five-star caravan park, you can expect soap and hand-drying facilities at communal washbasins. Even bargain two-star backpackers establishments must provide a minimum of one toilet and shower for every 10 beds.
Curious about what South African holidaymakers think of the new system, we asked readers in a Facebook poll how important star grading isto them when choosing where to stay. Here’s the breakdown of how you voted:
• it’s a very important indication of quality – 9 votes
• it’s a nice-to-have, but not essential – 36 votes
• it’s not important at all – 4 votes
• I only go to places I know, so it doesn’t matter – 2 votes
• I don’t trust the grading system – 5 votes
See which establishments have earned their stars at www.tourismgrading.co.za