Australia knows a smart contest when it finds one. Last year's similar stunt attracted massive media interest and this year's repeat and expansion caught on even more.
More than 40,000 people from around the globe have applied for Australia’s six “Best Jobs in the World”, leaving Australian tourism officials with the mammoth task of paring the list down to 18 finalists.
The six-month jobs, which include “Outback Adventurer” and “Chief Funster”, attracted initial interest from more than 330,000 people from nearly 200 countries before applications closed late on Wednesday.
Applicants were asked to submit a 30-second video explaining why they would be good for the jobs, which come with a stipend of A$100,000 ($105,400).
Among the entries received were a woman snorkeling in stop-motion animation, and a man having a pillow fight with New Yorkers and dancing in his underwear in the subway.
“Getting lost has helped me find who I am. I have encountered all the best parts when I am lost on different journeys,” said one woman, who was applying for the job of “Lifestyle Photographer”. “Where will I get lost next?”
The campaign was based on a 2009 initiative by authorities in Queensland state seeking an “island caretaker” on the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. That campaign attracted almost 35,000 entries and was won by Briton Ben Southall.
The “Chief Funster” will have VIP access to exclusive Sydney parties and festivals, while the Northern Territory’s “Outback Adventurer” will get a taste of Australian bush life.
The 18 finalists will be flown to Australia for interviews, with the six winners announced on June 21. Americans topped the list of applicants, followed by Britons.
Queensland’s 2009 campaign sparked similar campaigns around the world. Recently, the Chinese city of Hangzhou launched a Facebook campaign to find a “Modern Day Marco Polo”.
Since winning the Queensland competition, Southall has married an Australian woman and now lives in the state capital Brisbane, where he works for the Queensland tourism board.
Reporting by Michael Sin; Editing by Elaine Lies and Paul Tait. Copyright (2013) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.
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Photo Credit: File photo of a road sign near Uluru (Ayers Rock), about 350 km (217 miles) southwest of the central Australian town of Alice Springs. Reuters/Tim Wimborne