World’s Best Job
** A British charity fundraiser was appointed caretaker of a tropical island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef today, beating more than 34,000 applicants for what’s billed as the “best job in the world.”
Ben Southall will be paid A$150,000 ($110,000) to live on Hamilton Island in the northern state of Queensland for six months. His job will include exploring white sand beaches, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving — and promoting the island to tourists in a weekly blog, or online diary.
** “Everything that is offered out there I want to grasp with both hands,” the 34-year-old from Hampshire, southern England, who lists his hobbies as marathon running and climbing, said in comments broadcast live around the world from the island.
The appointment is the culmination of a marketing campaign that aims to defy the global recession and boost the number of tourists to Australia. Tourism Queensland estimates the A$1.7 million campaign generated more than A$100 million worth of publicity and may help reverse a forecast 4.1 percent decline in international visitors to Australia this year.
** “We’ve certainly got a good return on our investment,” Bruce Wallace, director of market activation and publicity, said in a telephone interview. “There were only two countries in the world that our Web site didn’t receive hits from, Somalia and North Korea.”
** Tourism Queensland unveiled its “Best Job in the World” competition in January, in the midst of the northern hemisphere winter and the gloom of a global recession.