SYDNEY – A skydiving, mountain-climbing interpreter from Taiwan has scored herself a shot at what's been dubbed the "Best Job in the World" — getting paid to serve as the caretaker of a tropical Australian paradise island.
Officials with the tourism department of Australia's Queensland state on Wednesday announced that Clare Wang won a spot among 11 finalists vying for the job — a $105,000 contract to relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months while writing a blog to promote the area.
Wang was selected by the public as the "wild card" winner from a pool of 50 short-listed entries the department had chosen earlier. She received 151,676 votes — almost three times as many as her nearest competitor — on the job ad's Web site, which featured the video applications of all 50 hopefuls. Nearly 35,000 people from across the world applied for the gig.
Tourism Queensland will choose the other 10 finalists and announce the names on April 3. All 11 hopefuls will be flown to Hamilton Island in early May for interviews, and one will be declared the winner on May 6. The job begins July 1.
"Clare has done a remarkable job of promoting her quest for the Best Job in the World in Taiwan and has become an overnight media celebrity," Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes said in a statement. "Not only has she gained the support of the Taiwanese people, she has done an amazing job of promoting Queensland and the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, which is exactly what the Best Job in the World campaign is all about."
The job is part of a campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland, and tourism officials say it has already generated millions worth of publicity for the region.