It's official! New data from AirBnB has confirmed Dungog is one of the most hospitable towns in Australia.
Making the list of top-rated cities or towns in Australia, Airbnb properties located in the Dungog region received 90% share of 5-star reviews over the past 12 months, making it one of the most hospitable towns in the country.
Although Dungog didn't make the top ten, tenth place (Upper Lachlan Shire) received 91% five star ratings placing Dungog very close to the top.
President of the Dungog and District Chamber of Commerce Marion Stuart had operated her own BnB for over 20 years before closing this year.
Ms Stuart said that it's no wonder Dungog placed so highly on the list.
"It's great because it's a nice place to live," she said. "We have a good product. It's a nice area to come to and we have some outstanding operators.
"It's a great showcase for Dungog. You try and do your best for your visitors and I know most people around try to do that too. You go that extra little mile with your customers, put those unexpected extras in your accommodation."
Another reason why Ms Stuart thinks that Dungog is such a popular destination is the authentic country town experience the town offers as well as being so close to population hubs such as Newcastle and Sydney.
"They love coming into town and getting that authentic country experience and meeting nice people who will talk to them," she said.
"They can find little quirky things to buy and they love that. I've had people who would come at least once a year for a holiday or some that come several times a year. We have the right sort of people running these businesses with the right attitude."
President of Dungog Regional Tourism Cameron Archer agrees that the authentic country experience as well as its vicinity with population hubs nearby draws people in. However, he also sees platforms like AirBnB and the Internet at large as playing a huge role in revitalising Dungog.
"The digital age has revolutionised tourism and enabled the sole operator to be out there with the best of the big ones and compete. It has enabled the most remote and unusual venues to be included in what is the new mainstream tourism media," he said.
"Dungog always had a culture for tourism. If you go back to the 1920's there was always a tourism league for the Barrington Tops. There's always been a culture to promote tourism in Dungog."
Mr Archer estimates that Dungog has the equivalent of two resorts worth of BnB accommodations hidden in the hills of the Dungog Shire.
He sees this sense of recognition and appreciation for the town as fostering a pride for the area. "I think people are proud of Dungog and this will bring more pride to the town and to the district. It can only be good going into the future."
Looking forward, Mr Archer hopes that the town can maintain its high standard for accommodation and tourism.
"It's infectious. I'm sure people in Dungog and tourism operators are keen to do it just as much as anyone else," he said.
"We've got a beautiful landscape and beautiful environment, great services. We've got to just keep doing what we're doing, doing it well and keep getting better."