A young Irish internet entrepreneur who convinced adventurer Bear Grylls, sprinter Usain Bolt and actor Hugh Jackman to support him has beaten 330,000 competitors from 196 countries to win one of six positions in Tourism Australia's best jobs in the world competition.
Allan Dixon, 26, has won the job of outback adventurer in the Northern Territory.
The other five winners, announced in Sydney on Friday, are American Andrew Smith (chief funster, NSW), Brazilian Roberto Seba (lifestyle photographer, Victoria), Frenchwoman Elisa Detrez (park ranger, Queensland), Englishman Rich Keam (taste master, Western Australia) and Canadian Greg Snell (wildlife caretaker, South Australia).
They are expected to start their six-month $100,000 positions some time between August and December this year.
The 18 finalists in the global competition, designed to showcase Australia to the world's youth, spent the past week in Australia going through a series of adventure, nature-based, culinary, social media and photography challenges and assessments, as part of a rigorous final selection process.
Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the competition had been tough. "I'd like to congratulate all of the 18 finalists for the tremendous enthusiasm and effort they have put into this competition," he said at Friday's announcement of the winners.
There were no Chinese or other Asians among the winners, perhaps a surprise given China's dominant presence in world tourism. But Tourism Australia said that while the level of interest and quality of entries from South-East Asia were high, they were not strong enough to win.
Tourism Australia reports show that Taiwan and South Korea are among the top five countries for Australian working holiday maker visas, alongside the UK, Germany and France.
The competition is part of a major international marketing push to promote Australia's working-holiday maker program.
In 2012, Tourism Australia says working-holiday makers contributed $2.5 billion to the Australian economy, each spending on average of $13,000 during their stay.
A Tourism Australia survey has revealed that 72 per cent of people who entered the competition are planning to apply for an Australian working holiday visa, with 39 per cent seriously considering taking a working holiday within the next six months.
"Whilst much of the attention has focused on the six dream jobs, we shouldn't forget the real purpose of this campaign – to inspire more young people to come Down Under," he said.