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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The best job in the world? It turns out it's not mine after all...

Travel writers frequently get told they have the most enviable job in the world. It's a given that if we're checking into a hotel where they know we're travel writers (we often stay incognito) that soon after shaking hands and exchanging business cards, the hotel GM or PR person will say "You guys must have the best job in the world." Depending on how many days we've been on the road, how many hotels we've stayed in so far that year, and how many bags of research materials we're lugging at the time, we might agree - or not. When we meet travellers on the road, we gushingly get told we have their dream job and are quizzed as to how they can become travel writers too. So when I spotted a tweet titled 'The Best Job', I was certain it would be something to do with travel writing. It wasn't. It turns Tourism Queensland have devised one of the most ingenious tourism marketing campaigns ever. Australia the movie? Bazz who? And the timing couldn't have been better, as tourism numbers in Australia are down. Firstly, they generate an astonishing amount of publicity and interest around the announcement of a competition for what some would think is the ideal job ever: caretaker for 6 months of a tropical island (Hamilton Island) with luxurious rent-free accommodation with island views, a fairly decent salary of A$150,000, and a car (well, actually a golf buggy). The arduous responsibilities include pool cleaning (limited to collecting stray leaves as there's an automatic system), feeding the fish (this one's a joke I think), and collecting the mail (on the aerial postal service!). You can read the full Island Reef Job description here. It created so much buzz in the media, blogosphere and travel communities the site crashed the first day. Once the person is actually hired Tourism Queensland will generate even more ongoing global coverage, because that's exactly why the job was created in the first place: "the most important duty is to report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) and let us know what’s taking place on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef" the site says. "There’s so much to see and do" it continues, "you’ll have plenty to write about in your weekly blog. And with so much life above and below the water, you’re sure to capture some entertaining moments for your video diary and photo gallery. To keep you busy, Tourism Queensland will organise a schedule of travel and events on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef... sampling a new luxury spa treatment at qualia on Hamilton Island, trying out new snorkelling gear on Heron Island, or bushwalking on Hinchinbrook Island." The Selection Criteria includes not only 'Enthusiasm for the role' but also: "Entertainment value (personality and creativity); Presentation skills (being media-friendly); and at least one year's relevant experience". Okay, so how many caretakers do you think they're going to find who have charisma, are funny, have media experience, and can write well and produce videos? Somehow, I don't think there'll be too many 'caretakers' applying for the job at all, but my guess is that there'll be an awful lot of travel bloggers. I'd tell you more only the site crashed. You can take a look at the application/selection process for yourself here. And check out the competition here. Oh, apparently you must be able to swim.

Pictured: not the Whitsundays, but another beautiful beach near Albany in Western Australia that we visited recently, charmingly called The Pond by locals.


Jessie V said...

hi lara! i saw this job and loved it! when i look at the videos of the candidates, you're right, so very few actually LOOK like they can do the job.

Anonymous said...

Lara - You and Terry should definitely apply. You could finally unpack and write your book on what it's like to be on the road for 3 years.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Jessie - oh, I didn't actually look at any of the videos. I'll have to go take a look.

Hi Travel Muse - well, thanks for the encouragement. And it would be a wonderful place to write. Although somehow I think this person is going to be pretty busy! I also think they want someone more adventurous and sporty - we love a good bush walk and we can swim, but we're not really into diving or snorkelling - I can only look at coral for so long. I find the world above the water far more intriguing.

Anonymous said...

No doubt you're right and a lot of travel bloggers will apply. I have (take a look at if you're curious).

However, I haven't actually seen any video applications by travel bloggers or professional writers. I've seen a lot of videos by licensed SCUBA divers and even a couple of marine biologists.

I think the biggest factor against me is that I'm Australian.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Caitlin

Interesting, hey? I really expected a lot of travel bloggers would apply - they're perfect for the job.

I'll have to check out your application! Good luck!


Lara Dunston said...

Hi there Wildman93

Oh, very interesting - I hadn't heard about the Russian candidate - very funny!

Thanks for dropping by.