15 December 2009

Best Job winner to be kept on as an Australian global tourism ambassador

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Best Job in the World winner Ben Southall is wrapping up his position as Hamilton Island caretaker, but next year a much larger position awaits as a jet-setting Australian global tourism ambassador.

The former UK charity worker beat thousands of other hopefuls to win the six-month role touring Queensland’s holiday spots and blogging about his travels. It was a position that earnt him AU$150,000, and Queensland Tourism officials say the Best Job in the World campaign boosted international tourism to the state.

International visitors, unless they have an Australian or  New Zealand passport, do need to have an Australian Travel Visa. The most popular of these visas is the ETA Visa, which can be easily applied for online and once approved is electronically attached to your passport.

During the six months, Southall travelled to more than 90 Queensland destinations, including half of the 74 Whitsunday islands, Torres Strait, Tropical North Queensland, the Gold Coast, southern and central Queensland and the Outback, blogging about his experiences as he went as well as making public appearances. 

The Best Job in the World website recorded more than 8 million hits, and Tourism Queensland have calculated that Southall helped turn an initial AU$1.7 million investment into global publicity worth more than $400 million.

As of January 1, Ben Southall will be paid a six-figure salary, plus expenses, as a global tourism ambassador to promote Queensland and will tour American, Europe, Asia and New Zealand promoting the destination.

He will start the 18-month job with a role at the G'Day USA promotion in Los Angeles in January, and he will be speaking at high profile events in Japan, South Korea, China and Europe during the next year.

Southall will also be working on a six-part National Geographic documentary series exploring the Queensland Great Barrier Islands through his eyes.


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