LLANGAMARCH WELLS, Wales -- The Wales Tourist Board devised a new accommodations grading system called Star Quality Grading Scheme.

The system was introduced in all 1999 brochures produced by the Wales Tourist Board and replaces the previous crown system used by the tourist board to grade accommodations.

The crown system graded each establishment based on the amount of amenities while the new star system bases its grading on quality, comfort and service, according to Chris Coleman, director of trade and consumer relations at the Wales Tourist Board. "With the star scheme, all establishments, no matter what their size, can be compared on the same basis -- quality," said Coleman.

Each establishment is assigned one of 13 categories, or designators, that could include hotel, inn, country house, guest house, farm, bed and breakfast or lodge. Gradings are awarded by an independent inspector each year and range from one to five stars.

According to Coleman, inspectors grade each stage of a visit, from the pre-arrival booking to the overall levels of hospitality, and award a final star grading based on the results.

Establishments that want to be listed in official Wales Tourist Board brochures each year must pay for an inspection. With payment, the establishment receives a plaque with its designator and star grade on it as well as a listing in all of the board's brochures. "Our system will hopefully inspire businesses to make greater efforts to care for visitors," said Coleman. " This will in turn benefit the Welsh tourism industry by encouraging repeat visits from satisfied guests."

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