You can put away your scuba gear and suntan lotion -- the "best job in the world" of running an Australian tropical island, has been filled.

Ben Southall, 34, of Britain, was picked from 16 finalists in a contest by the Tourism Queensland to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef for six months and report back to the tourism board and the world via blogs, a photo diary, video updates and interviews, according to a Reuters story.

The contest gathered global attention, with 34,700 video entries from almost 200 countries, and getting $110 million in global publicity for Queensland.



Along wtih getting $100,000 in pay, Southall will get free lodging in the ultimate getaway. His Canadian girlfriend will join him on the island.

"I hope I can fill the boots as much as everybody is expecting, my swimming hopefully is up to standard and I look forward to all of the new roles and responsibilities that the task involves," he said.

The number of applicants was cut to a top 50, who competed to develop online followers by holding stunts such as scuba diving in a tank in an Amsterdam square, and riding the London Tube in scuba gear.

A panel of four decided the winner after flying the candidates to Hamilton Island last weekend to test them on a range of personal, communication and other skills.

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