SOFALA'S historic Royal Hotel has been awarded $50,000 by Airbnb to refresh the pub and put the village back on the map, beating out other Mudgee region pubs that were hoping for the same funding.
The Royal Hotel is one of six winners out of more than 9000 nominations in The Country Pub Project, launched by Airbnb in June.
Publicans Marty and Sandy Tomkinson took over the Royal Hotel in 1968 after Sandy's parents had owned it since 1955, but its days at a pub date all the way back to 1851 and the gold rush years.
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Mr Tomkinson welcomed the funding, saying said the pub was the "where this great community comes together".
"We've been applying for grants for the past couple of years to give it a refresh but haven't been successful, so when we saw this opportunity from Airbnb, we had to throw our hat in the ring," he said.
"We're so excited to be one of the lucky recipients and we hope it will improve the look of the whole village and encourage more visitors to our town."
Location of the Royal Hotel, Sofala ...
The Tomkinsons will spend the majority of the grant revamping the pub's bedrooms with a fresh lick of paint and new lighting fixtures.
As part of the grant, they'll be partnered with a dedicated project manager who will use local tradespeople to carry out the works. They'll also be paired with a nearby Airbnb host to provide tips and tricks for listing their pub on the platform to gain maximum exposure to international and domestic guests.
Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas said the tight-knit Sofala community and the Tomkinsons' passion were just some of the reasons they had been chosen as grant recipients.
"The pub itself is such a rich part of the history of the town and its involvement in local causes and groups, such as the school, is a great initiative," Mr Thomas said.
"We hope this grant will help breathe new life into the pub and the community itself."
Other grant recipients include the Imperial Hotel in Ravenswood, Queensland; Royal Standard Hotel, Toora, Victoria; Grand Hotel, Millicent, South Australia; Bischoff Hotel, Waratah, Tasmania; and Woolshed Hotel, Nungarin, Western Australia.
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