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'World's Best Job' Web site flooded in final hours

A LUCKY 200 people have been shortlisted for the chance to become the caretaker of a tropical Australian island - dubbed by promoters as the "Best Job in the World" - but tourism officials acknowledged today that many last-minute applications were lost because the Web site was flooded with traffic.

Nearly 35,000 people submitted video applications for the job with Tourism Queensland, which pays a salary of 150,000 Australian dollars (US$97,000) to relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months while writing a blog to promote the island.

The job is part of a AU$1.7 million campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland state.

Anthony Hayes, Tourism Queensland's chief executive, said a wave of 7,500 applications hit the Web site in the 72 hours before Monday's deadline.

"This massive amount of traffic understandably slowed the site down and regretfully some people weren't able to get their video application in on time," he said. "It has been frankly heartbreaking because people have gone to so much trouble, and we have lost some fantastic applications. But to be fair to everyone, we have to be consistent."

The tourism board will announce 50 finalists Tuesday on its Web site. The public will then have until March 24 to vote for their favorite applicant.

The top vote-getter and 10 other people chosen by the tourism board will be flown to Hamilton Island for interviews. The winner will be announced May 6. The job begins July 1.

"No one has ever done anything like this before and


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