Friday, 20 February 2009

Going local on the Great Barrier Reef

Does Tourism Queensland's marketing body really need any help? They seem to have got the publicity thing down rather well. Their "best job in the world" campaign has been a monstrously huge hit. I've lost count of how many times I've seen it in the travel press or on a blog. Do a Google search for "best job in the world" and - bonza! - Queensland's right up there.

As a quick recap: they are on a worldwide hunt for someone to work a six-month, A$150,000 contract in the spectacular Whitsundays islands. No formal qualifications necessary, but the candidate must be willing to swim, snorkel, dive, sail and work to publicise the region. For this, they'll be able to live rent-free in a three-bedroom villa, complete with plunge pool.

Yep, these specs sure beat your average nine-to-five.

It was a clever idea and, thus far, it seems very well executed. I've just been having a look at the ultra-slick website. Candidates have been posting their video applications in their thousands - more than 19,000 so far. There are certainly some good ones and watching them is oddly compelling.

I'm not quite sure how they'll be judging it. Does the number of video views bump up your chances? Or the star-rating the public have given it? Will they choose a PR or journalism professional? An Aussie or a non-Aussie? An ardent traveller or someone who's never left their homeland? An experienced blogger and social-media fanatic? (After all, blogging and networking are big parts of the role.)

So far, the field (or should that be white-sand beach?) is wide open. I'll be interested to see who makes the grade and gets to live on Hamilton island for six months. If you're interested, you have just two days left to apply.

Failing that the Danish tourist board are trying their hand at a similar scheme. Be their travel "guinea pig" and get a free trip. No tropical reefs, no fat paycheck, but not to be sniffed at. In return, you just have to write about it. Good one for budding travel writers.