Sunday, April 12, 2009

Best job in the world' has 16 happy finalists

A DJ from India, a journalist from Canada and a German actress were among 16 finalists announced Friday for what's been dubbed the "Best Job in the World" -- a $108,000 contract to serve as the caretaker of a tropical Australian island.

Some of the finalists screamed, a few swore and one man from Ireland downed a Victoria Bitter, a popular Australian beer, upon learning they were one step closer to snagging the dream gig -- a six-month assignment to swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef while writing a blog to promote the area.

"The Europeans have been partying all night," Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes said of the finalists from France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom who received the good news.

Nearly 35,000 people from around the world applied for the job, and officials initially planned to select 10 finalists, in addition to a "wild card" candidate previously chosen by the public. But Hayes decided to expand the short list to 15 "mostly to stop my staff from killing each other," he said with a laugh. "We just couldn't get to 10."

All 16 hopefuls will be flown to Hamilton Island in early May for formal interviews.

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