Saturday, July 4, 2009


The job description for 'the best job in the world'

Tourism officials in Australia are describing it as "the best job in the world".

They want someone to work on a tropical island off the Queensland coast.

No formal qualifications are needed but candidates must be willing to swim, snorkel, dive and sail.

In return, the successful applicant will receive a salary of A$150,000 ($103,000, £70,000) for six months and get to live rent-free in a three-bedroom villa, complete with pool.

Feeding fish

We need a special person. They are going to be pretty busy having a good time
Anthony Hayes, Chief Executive, Tourism Queensland

Anthony Hayes, Chief Executive, Tourism Queensland, said: "It doesn't sound too bad does it? We are looking for someone to tell the stories of the Great Barrier Reef and we have come up with what we think is the dream job."

The post is being advertised as "caretaker" on Hamilton Island in Australia's Whitsunday Islands.

The new recruit will work for just 12 hours a month. Duties include feeding some of the hundreds of species of fish and collecting the island's mail.

Picture: Hamilton Island - courtesy Tourism Queensland
They will also need to prepare a blog, a photo diary and video updates to attract tourists to the area.

"There are hundreds of islands scattered along the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Hayes told the BBC. "We are looking for someone who can go and explore all the different islands then report back to the world on what they see.

"We need a special person. They are going to be pretty busy having a good time."

Hamilton Island, where the temperature is warm all year round, is the largest inhabited island in the region. It boasts blue skies, crystal water and pure sands.

Thousands of applications

About two million tourists visit the various islands each year, but most stay on the mainland and visit only on day trips.

The job is being advertised around the world. Candidates have until 22 February to submit an online video application.

World's largest coral reef system
1,600 miles long
2,900 individual reefs
400 species of coral
2,000+ different fish species
Source: BBC Science & Nature

In May, 10 shortlisted candidates and one wildcard, voted for by visitors to the Tourism Queensland website, will be invited to the islands for a four-day final interview process. The successful candidate will start the new job on 1 July.

Mr Hayes says he is expecting thousands of applications: "I'm having to beat my staff off with a stick at the moment because most of them want to apply too."

And the Best Job in the World Goes to ???

After a worldwide search, Ben Southall was chosen as Tourism Queensland’s Islands Caretaker, or what we like to call the ‘Best Job in the World’. The role is a newly created position designed to help promote the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef to the world.

Ben was selected from more than 34,000 people from around the globe who applied for the Best Job in the World. He will work for six months exploring the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and report on his travels through regular blog posts.

Applications for the job opened in January 2008, with would-be caretakers sending in 60-second videos showing their creativity and skills. From a shortlist of 50 applicants, Ben was amongst the final 16 applicants who travelled to Queensland in early May for the final selection process.

The interviews were held on the Whitsunday Islands and involved all 16 applicants taking on a range of tasks from swimming, snorkelling, tasting local cuisine as well as undergoing formal interviews and tests. The announcement of the successful applicant was a truly electric moment as Ben’s name was read out in front of the world’s cameras. The other applicants, who by now were all firm friends, rushed to congratulate him.

All of the candidates were very special but Ben’s adventurous spirit, energy and passion for the outdoors proved an irresistible combination. The 34-year-old charity fundraiser from Petersfield in Hampshire, UK is now donning his new work uniform – a wetsuit and flippers – and will keep himself busy exploring one of the great natural wonders of the world.

Ben will immerse himself in life above and below the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. A keen diver and sailor, he’s going to experience the full wonder and ecological diversity of the reef and islands. And you can follow Ben’s adventures through this blog!

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