Offering globally-recognised grading and quality assurance for accommodation, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) plays an important role in South Africa’s hospitality landscape. At the helm is Darryl Erasmus, the Chief Quality Assurance Officer. “We work with industry to ensure our destination is globally competitive through the quality standards of our products, and then use experiential marketing activities to ensure we showcase the diversity, variety and wonder of South Africa,” says Darryl on TGCSA’s role. “We also partner with other players (Private and Public sector) to ensure the overall visitor experience is augmented through training, development and partnerships.”

We found out a little bit more about Darryl, including his career path and what motivates him every day, as well as more about why establishments are signing up with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa:

Q&A with Darryl Erasmus:

Can you tell us a bit about your journey in the tourism and hospitality space? My career spans mainly two sectors and, interestingly, they are both in the services environment – service and assisting people in need is something I believe is an innate characteristic.  I have worked extensively in the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality sectors whilst also spending some time in the Financial Services sector. This varied experience has been really beneficial as it allows for a much more holistic view and perspective of the sector that is my passion!

When did you join TGCSA and can you describe what it is that you do in a nutshell? I joined the TGCSA in September of 2015. I am tasked to oversee the Quality Assurance, Brand Experience and Visitor Experience activities for South African Tourism.

What is it about TGCSA that motivates you to get up every morning? I keep at it because I recognise the far-reaching impact my actions have for our country and our 57 million citizens.  The TGCSA has a very specific mandate: South African Tourism markets destination South Africa globally and part of attracting tourists to the country is ensuring that the overall visitor experience is a competitive and quality one which fosters positive word of mouth, memorable encounters and hopefully repeat visitation.   The TGCSA plays an integral role in partnering with the trade value chain to deliver quality and memorable experiences.  As the number of International and Domestic tourists arrivals rise, so too does the impact tourism has on the economy and inevitably on important social issues such as employment creation.  The harder we work the more people benefit!

How many members of TGCSA are there and why are establishments joining up to be graded? The TGCSA has in the region of 5200 graded establishments as valid members at present.  They comprise of establishments from various categories – these include Hotels, Game Lodges, Bed & Breakfasts, Guest Houses, Self-Catering Facilities and Venues to name a few.

Being graded assists properties with positioning their offering in an appropriate category as well as aligning their pricing with the chosen competitor set (Graded Star Level) to ensure competitiveness.  In addition to this, a graded property is issued Stars which they use to create a value expectation with prospective patrons, and they have access to benefits through TGCSA being a unit within South African Tourism.

It is important to note that in South Africa, grading is voluntary process and is also only valid for one year.  This ensures that the concept of Quality Assurance is inextricably linked to continuous improvement through our annual renewal processes.

For more information on the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, click here

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