06 July 2009

New ambassador to promote Australian tourism

A candidate who missed out on the Best Job in the World has been awarded a consolation prize, becoming Queensland's Japanese "ambassador" to the Gold Coast.

New ambassador to promote Australian tourism

Queensland has announced a new ambassador to promote Australian tourism and the Gold Coast.

Mieko Kobayashi was a finalist in the Tourism Queensland worldwide promotion but lost the job to  Englishman Ben Southall, who is being paid £75,000 for six months' work promoting Queensland.

But because of the cult-like following the Tokyo receptionist had in Japan during her campaign for the job, Premier Anna Bligh awarded her an ambassador's role to promote Australian tourism at a ceremony on the Gold Coast recently.

Ms Bligh said several Japanese media organisations had followed Ms Kobayashi's weekend visit to the Gold Coast, where she fed dolphins, went wine-tasting and sailing, and took part in the Gold Coast Marathon.

"She is immensely popular in Japan and is well known by the media there, who are keen to cover her adventures," Ms Bligh said.

"With a natural enthusiasm for Queensland, Mieko's role will help strengthen our exposure in Japan and entice more Japanese visitors to Queensland, which will maintain the prosperity of our tourism industry and protect and create Queensland jobs."

Ms Kobayashi happily accepted the role, saying she hoped her "love and passion" for Queensland would entice more of her countrymen to visit Australia.

To visit the Gold Coast or any other region in Australia for a short-term holiday , if you do not hold an Australian or New Zealand passport, you will need an Australian travel visa.

The most common type is the Electronic Travel Authorisation, or ETA visa, which can be used to travel in Australia for up to three months, provided the holder does not participate in work while in the country. 

As the ETA is electronic, it can be granted online within seconds and your passport does not need any paper labels or stamps.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with travel visas and other immigration needs.

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