Queensland Tourism/AP
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

“Dream Job” Ad Seeks Snorkeler to Revive Australian Tourism

January 14, 2009 12:32 PM
by Cara McDonough
In a new effort to help perk up its tourism industry, Queensland is offering a six-figure salary to an “island caretaker” whose job will include strolling the sandy beaches.

Swim, Snorkel, Save Australia

The position, open to applicants until Feb. 22, is being advertised as “the best job in the world.” It comes with a six-month contract, flexible hours, and a salary of about $105,000. The job advertisement, and the job itself, are the latest in Australia’s enthusiastic and sometimes unorthodox attempts to reinvigorate its flailing tourism industry.

The caretaker, who will be employed by the Australian state of Queensland, will be expected to report to a global audience on his or her island experience, via blog posts, photos and video updates, reports AFP. The applicant must be a good swimmer, good communicator and must be able to speak and write English.

Job perks—besides the obvious—include free airfare from the applicant’s home country to Hamilton Island, located on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as free rent in a three-bedroom home, complete with a pool and golf cart.

“The fact that they will be paid to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, swim, snorkel and generally live the Queensland lifestyle makes this undoubtedly the best job in the world,” said state Premier Paul Lucas.

CNN reports that, besides the position being a true dream job, “it is true and a very clever marketing ploy to boot,” as Queensland’s tourism board has received worldwide media coverage by advertising the job. The tourism board’s hope is that, once the position is filled, the caretaker’s multimedia journal will garner some attention of its own and entice travelers to visit.

Australia’s tourism industry, which employs thousands of people and is worth $62 billion annually, could use the boost, reports Voice of America. The already sagging industry will most likely be hit even harder by current recessions in Japan and the United States, which are major sources of tourists to the island nation; a new report says the number of foreign travelers visiting Australia next year could be the lowest since 1989. The study predicts that the fall could result in major job losses, including in Queensland, where tourism jobs make up 20 percent of total employment.

This isn’t the first time the country has heard bad news on the tourism front. In February 2006, Australian newspaper The Age reported that, despite fairly good tourism numbers the previous year, Australia was seeing tourism competition from cheaper destinations, such as China, India and Africa. Thanks in large part to rising fuel costs, “for more long-haul destinations such as Australia and New Zealand, growth is slowing," Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Matthew Hingerty told The Age.

The numbers have led Australia to take what might seem drastic measures to revitalize the industry, including the latest out of Queensland. But it looks like the tactic may be working, by at least one measure; according to the Tourism Queensland Web site, the “Best Job in the World” has already brought in 200,000 prospective applicants.

Related Topic: Australia’s tourism push through film

In another unconventional tourism push, last year Australia’s tourism board invested heavily in Baz Luhrmann’s film “Australia,” hoping it would bring visitors to the country just like the movie “Crocodile Dundee” had nearly 25 years ago. A term has even been coined—“The Crocodile Dundee Effect”—to describe the burst of tourism the film caused in the 1980s.

With the country’s tourism rates falling, the board hoped “Australia” would provide the push it needed, and reportedly invested $50 million for international advertising of the film, which featured beautiful landscapes of the country.

Other countries have enjoyed the “Crocodile Dundee Effect” from films, including New Zealand after the “Lord of the Rings” films were released. FindingDulcinea also highlights five notable films set in Paris, which have helped bring tourists to the country over the years.

Reference: How to apply; Australia travel guide


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