SYDNEY – An Australian state has launched a global search for candidates for "the best job in the world" -- earning a top salary for lazing around a beautiful tropical island for six months.
The job pays 150,000 Australian dollars (US$105,000) and includes free airfares from the successful applicant's home country to Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland's state government announced on Tuesday.
In return, the "island caretaker" will be expected to stroll the white sands, soak up the sun, snorkel the reef, "maybe clean the pool" -- and report to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates.
The winner, who will stay rent-free in a multi-million dollar three-bedroom beach home complete with plunge pool and golf buggy, must be an excellent communicator and be able to speak and write English.
"They'll also have to talk to media from time to time about what they're doing so they can't be too shy and they'll have to love the sea, the sun, the outdoors," said acting state Premier Paul Lucas.
"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."
Lucas said the campaign was part of a drive to protect the state's 18 billion Australian dollar a year tourism industry during the tough economic climate caused by the global financial meltdown.
While the campaign has elements of some reality television shows, a candidate's looks will not be a prime requirement, Tourism Queensland chief executive Anthony Hayes told AFP.
"No, I don't think beautiful is what we want, I think charismatic is what we want," he said. "The reality is we are looking for a fantastic communicator.
"What we want this person to do is travel throughout the Great Barrier Reef and just try every experience, every adventure they can find and report back via blogs and video to tell the world why Queensland is a great place to come for a holiday."
Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said some people might question whether it was risky to let an unknown person become an unofficial tourism spokesperson for the state.
"I think the biggest risk will be that the successful candidate won't want to go home at the end of the six months," she said.
"This is a legitimate job which is open to anyone and everyone."
Applications are open until February 22. Eleven shortlisted candidates will be flown to Hamilton Island in early May for the final selection process and the six month contract will commence on July 1.
Job-seekers can apply on Islandreefjob.com.