AIRBNB last week announced the winners of The Country Pub Project with Victoria’s Royal Standard Hotel in Toora, named one of six recipients of a $50,000 grant that aims to revitalise local pubs and help put them and the towns they’re located in, back on the map.
The Royal Standard Hotel is owned by publicans Amy Robson and Steve Swan, who took over the pub just over two years ago. But this isn’t their first hotel, given Amy has worked in pubs for the past 24 years. Built in 1889, the pub celebrates its 130th birthday this year and continues to be an integral part of the community. So much so, that the publicans decided to paint the building black and white in support of the local footy team, the Toora Magpies, who have faced a few challenging seasons.
Stephen and Amy say their local community has given them so much love and motivation over the years, but there’s never been enough money to fix up their pub.
“This grant and initiative is so wonderful, it’s the greatest gift for country pubs since tap beer.
“There’s so much maintenance we wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise, so when the opportunity to win a grant was made public, the community got behind us and nominated the pub,” Ms. Robson said.
Amy and Steve will spend the majority of the grant revamping the pub’s bedrooms and bathrooms and adding a much-needed laundry. 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, helping them gain maximum exposure among international and domestic guests.
Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas says the pub’s involvement in the community is one of the reasons the Royal Standard Hotel was selected as the recipients of the $50,000 grant. “This pub is clearly very much a part of the Toora community – so much so, that the town refers to the dining area as the local lounge room. Amy and Steve’s dedication is truly admirable and we hope this grant will give the pub and wider community the boost it deserves.”
CEO of Visit Victoria Peter Bingeman applauded the initiative.
“Visit Victoria is thrilled to see a regional Victorian pub receive a $50,000 grant from Airbnb to boost its business.”
“This is a great initiative that supports regional Victorian tourism and we encourage people across the state to plan a trip to a regional pub to enjoy the heart and soul of regional communities.”
Launched in June, The Country Pub Project aims to reinvigorate regional towns and support Aussie publicans by generating renewed interest in local communities that have been under threat due to declining populations, drought, economic disruption and waning tourism.
As part of this initiative, publicans and community members were encouraged to nominate their favourite pub by describing what makes their local so special. Of the 9,000 nominations received during the application process more than 1,600 were from Victoria.The other recipients include:
- Royal Hotel – Sofala, New South Wales
- Imperial Hotel – Ravenswood, Queensland
- The Grand Hotel – Millicent, South Australia
- Bischoff Hotel – Waratah, Tasmania
- The Woolshed Hotel – Nungarin, Western Australia
For more information on the Airbnb Country Pub Project, visit Airbnb.com/countrypubproject
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