SYDNEY: Australia’s tourism industry yesterday resurrected its hugely popular “Best Jobs in the World” campaign, offering a chance to become a “Chief Funster”, “Taste Master” or “Outback Adventurer”. The marketing push is targeting the youth segment, which contributes Aus$12 billion (US$12.2 billion) annually in tourism spending and delivers nearly 1.6 million, or 26 percent, of Australia’s international arrivals.

It follows a similar campaign that attracted huge interest in 2009, won by Briton Ben Southall, who was paid to become caretaker on a picture-perfect island on the Great Barrier Reef for six months. This time six “best” jobs are on offer-each in a different Australian state and each coming with a six-month salary package worth Aus$100,000. It is open to travelers aged between 18 and 30, with particular focus on international markets eligible for Australian working holiday visas including Britain, the United States, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

Hopefuls have until April 10 to upload a 30-second video explaining why they’re the best for the job. The event’s official Facebook page had almost 160,000 likes by yesterday and some 31,000 people had already thrown their hat in the ring, according to officials, with 8,000 applications flooding in in the first two hours alone.

The initiative was largely well received, but some Australians questioned why such plum jobs should be offered to foreigners when there were adequately skilled local people looking for work. “I’m pretty sure most Australians would be against this publicity stunt… I would love this job, just like any other Australian, and paying some foreigners $100,000 to come here for 6 months! How about giving those jobs to Australians first!” wrote one unemployed Australian on the campaign’s Facebook page.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the competition was expected to appeal to youth travelers’ sense of fun and adventure. “The competition provides an excellent platform to entice more young people from around the world to come to Australia to holiday, but also to work, helping to fill many unfilled tourism jobs across Australia,” he said. The chief funster position is New South Wales-based and involves becoming a Sydney VIP, attending and reviewing festivals and events and tweeting thoughts.

The taste master in Western Australia will tour top restaurants, wineries, breweries and pubs while the outback adventurer will be tasked with uncovering the best experiences for Northern Territory working holidaymakers. Other jobs include a park ranger in Queensland, a lifestyle photographer in Victoria and wildlife caretaker in South Australia, moving around by foot, kayak, bicycle, and boat. Previous winner Southall said the experience was life-changing. “I didn’t know if I was going to be diving, or skydiving or cooking or bushwalking-and I did all of them,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to go for it and see where it leads you.”—AFP