The Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) has released the findings of its 2017 Perception Study on Grading in South Africa.

Data was gathered over three months through an online questionnaire and telephonic interviews to a sample of graded and non-graded accommodation establishments throughout the country, representing 9 650 rooms, with 21 416 beds and a permanent staff complement of 6 611. A significant number of tourism associations, travel management services, accredited TGCSA assessors, as well as local and international travellers, were also contacted.

The study found that 73% of graded establishments regard the TGCSA as an important contributor to the tourism industry in South Africa; 66% believe their consumers regard star grading to be important; and 88% of graded establishments said they would encourage other establishments to be graded.

Interestingly, the study also indicates that there is a perception, even among travel-related services that do not prioritise accommodation grading system in their offerings, that tourists prefer graded establishments.

The TGCSA said in a statement: “With 9% of interviewed tourists travelling for business and 69% travelling for leisure, the perception of these consumers is vital to the livelihood of the industry. Of all interviewed travellers, 79% say star grading is important in their choice of accommodation establishment. Furthermore, more than half of travellers say they choose TGCSA-graded establishments because they know what to expect from them and believe grading assures quality.”

While over 50% of accommodation establishments reported that the guidance they received from the TGCSA added value to their business, the study revealed that some trade partners were not satisfied with the benefits of the TGCSA grading system.

“We want to do better so all our partners enjoy the benefit of grading and continue to renew their membership. We would like to assure you that we are working on refining our business and training offerings for the year ahead as well as great discounted offers on membership fees,” the TGCSA said.