China launches its own 'best job in the world'

Explorer Marco Polo described Hangzhou as the "most beautiful and elegant city in the world". Now the city is seeking someone to follow in his footsteps in a tourism promotion.
Explorer Marco Polo described Hangzhou as the "most beautiful and elegant city in the world". Now the city is seeking someone to follow in his footsteps in a tourism promotion. Photo: Getty Images

A Chinese city is searching for a foreign traveller to become a "modern Marco Polo", with a 40,000 euro ($A50,893) salary on offer to the winner.

Hangzhou in eastern China, renowned for its canals and bridges, was described as the "most beautiful and elegant city in the world" by the Venetian traveller, whose 13th-century journal was one of the first detailed accounts of China written by a European.

Now the city is "calling people around the world to follow Marco Polo's steps", said Chen Li, of Hangzhou's tourism commission.

A portrait of legendary Venetian traveller and explorer Marco Polo.
A portrait of legendary Venetian traveller and explorer Marco Polo. Photo: Getty Images

The promotion is akin to Australia's "best jobs in the world" campaigns, the first of which required the winner to live on a tropical island for six months.

The new Marco Polo will be recruited via Facebook - which is banned in China - and will undergo intensive training before being flown to the city for a 15-day trip, the tourism commission said in a media release.

Duties include making a short video about Hangzhou and promoting the city online. Both men and women are eligible, it said.

"To be a modern Marco Polo is a very interesting job, it will maybe change their life," Chen said. "They may find inner peace, like Kung Fu Panda."

The Travels of Marco Polo, composed in 1298, described a journey across Asia through realms of pygmies, exotic plants and cannibals.

The book had an enormous impact on European perceptions of the continent, but modern historians have questioned the veracity of Polo's account, and some query whether he reached China at all.

China was the world's third most visited country in 2011, behind the United States and France, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, with 57.6 million international tourism arrivals.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter of a million entries have been submitted for Australia's ''Best Jobs in the World'' promotion in just a week.

Tourism Australia is offering their pick of the best working holiday jobs to showcase the country.
Roles include being a ''funster'' in NSW and an outback adventurer in Northern Territory.

Winners will be paid $100,000 each for a six-month contract starting in June.

In the seven days since the launch, Tourism Australia has received 275,000 applications from 150,000 people in 196 countries.

Applicants can apply for more than one job.

About 38,000 entries came from the US, 33,000 from France, 32,000 from the UK and 30,000 from Italy.

The most popular jobs are South Australia's wildlife caretaker, NSW's chief funster and Queensland's park ranger.

The aim of the competition is to boost the number of working holiday tourists visiting Australia.
About 1.6 million people under the age of 30 travel to Australia each year, making up just over a quarter of all tourists and contributing about $12 billion a year to the economy.

Entries close 9am (AEDT) on April 10 and winners will be announced on June 21.

Visit www.australia.com/bestjobs to enter.

AUSTRALIA'S 'BEST JOBS IN THE WORLD'

Wildlife caretaker, SA - wake up the kangaroos, swim with dolphins and sea lions, assist with conservation projects

Park ranger, Qld - check water temps, protect and promote native plants and animals, walk in the rainforest, visit waterfalls

Chief funster, NSW - promote food, lifestyle and sports events across the state, work behind the scenes of some of Sydney’s biggest festivals

Lifestyle photographer, Melbourne - create city and country photo shoots, meet local identities, designers and artists, explore the city’s hidden secrets, share trends

Outback adventurer, NT - meet the locals, journey through the outback, sleep under the stars in a bush camp, taste traditional bush foods

Taste master, WA - eat your way around the state, forage for the finest produce, uncover the best bars and restaurants.

AFP/AAP

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