During the Africa’s Travel Indaba 2023 Edition, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela officially launched the Basic Quality Verification Programme for the KwaZulu-Natal rollout.
Africa’s Travel Indaba is the largest tourism trade show on the African continent, bringing together travel industry professionals, exhibitors, and media from around the world to showcase the best of Africa’s tourism offerings. This year, more than 6000 delegates including buyers and exhibitors graced the event in order to promote their product and also increase their networks.
“The BQV (Basic Quality Verification) is the Tourism Grading Council’s new programme, and today we are launching its KwaZulu-Natal leg after a successful pilot project in the Eastern Cape. This programme helps Small tourism establishments in under-resourced villages, towns, and small dorpies (VTSDs) reach their full potential by giving them access to training, expertise, and resources, as well as TGCSA’s valuable stamp of approval. Hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, and homestays tucked away in small towns deserve their time in the sun, and the BQV does just that. The programme offers ‘verification’ to ungraded tourism establishments in VTSDs free of charge.” said the Deputy Minister
According to Deputy Minister Mahlalela, watching the Basic Quality Verification Programme grow and evolving over a period of time ordinarily means the growth of tourism economy. He further said that establishments in VTSDs make up the foundation of the South African tourism industry.
“I am excited to watch as this programme is rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal, because it’s truly impacting the tourism industry from the ground up. Let us continue to celebrate excellence while further positioning our country’s competitiveness in the global tourism market.”
“These small establishments offer authentic South African experiences, but travellers still want to know their basic comfort level standards of safety, cleanliness, and customer experience will be met. With this verification, these establishments can offer their customer peace of mind, while still offering them an authentic experience of our culture and hospitality. Basic Quality Verification helps to ensure that a certain standard of safety, cleanliness, and customer experience is guaranteed across the entire tourism value chain.” said the minister.
Within the Tourism Management Act, the Deputy Minister said that the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa was mandated to promote excellence in the provision of tourism services, facilities, and products.
“But it’s important to remember that our mandate is not just relevant to paying or graded members, those who can afford to be graded. Instead, we should be creating an environment to set up for all tourism establishments to succeed.” he said.
The BQV programme offers tangible value beyond ‘verification’, beyond its stamp of approval. It offers value that supports establishments in VTSDs with real world problems, on the foundation of verification.
Benefits of this programme BQV include providing access to the Enterprise Development Programmes administered by the Department of Tourism (such as welcome training, speed marketing training, ESD, NDT, and provincial training and development).
It also includes providing access to the Services Excellence Programmes administered by the Department of Tourism to provide service training to owners and employees (such as speed marketing, trade show participation and access to the ESD programme).
Lastly the programme provides access to funding opportunities to develop their offering to meet core requirements for formal grading over time (through market exposure, access to funding networks, and more).
“Because the Tourism Grading Council is not just a body that is in service of paying members but is committed to being in service of all tourism establishments, we developed and implemented BQV as a means for us to help small tourism establishments form the foundations of our industry.” said the Deputy Minister.
Deputy Minister Mahlalela said that the BQV clearly embodies also the empowerment of youth by training and employing unemployed graduates to verify the establishments in the programme. He further said that establishments that are verified through BQV are usually at the centre of their communities, bringing in business to the businesses around them and create an environment for those around them to thrive and grow.
“These establishments know that they thrive when the businesses around them thrive. They create a small-scale model of our mandate: Because we are aiming to create a nation-wide environment where all tourism establishments are equipped with the resources, knowledge, training, and expertise to thrive.”
“And so, as we actively participate in the revitalization of our industry, and watch as our recovery plan comes to fruition, it’s programmes such as BQV and the establishments it empowers that allow us to move forward, to be inclusive, to create an environment that sets up for all tourism establishments to succeed.”
Because tourism is a vital contributor to the South African economy, the Deputy Minister said that creating an environment where tourism establishments of all shapes and sizes can succeed, and thrive, is a key way in which South African Tourism contributes to our Tourism Sector Recovery Plan that we developed in 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.