Legendary Italian traveller Marco Polo, one of the first westerners to visit Hangzhou back in 13th century, described it as: “The City of Heaven, the most beautiful and magnificent in the world.” One lucky recruit is poised to follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo by landing their dream job and becoming the first foreign ambassador for Chinese tourism via a global recruitment campaign.
Hangzhou in south-eastern China is the destination for the Modern Marco Polo, who will enjoy a free 15-day journey into Chinese culture and secure a $67252.00 annual salary while promoting the city internationally for a year. Today, Hangzhou is one of China’s biggest cities but retains its beautiful scenery and attractions such as West Lake – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the Grand Canal, which is bidding to be grated the same status. The success of the Modern Marco Polo campaign led to Hangzhou being the most Googled destination in China in 2013.
Once recruited, the Modern Marco Polo will be treated to a 15-day trip to Hangzhou, including a four day tour along the Grand Canal. He or she will follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo before taking up the role of spokesperson to promote Hangzhou via social media. A shortlist of five candidates has been drawn from among nearly 26,000 worldwide entries and the Hangzhou Tourism Commission is now preparing to appoint one of them to the unique role. Mr Zhao Hongzhong, spokesperson for the Hangzhou Tourism Commission, said: “We’re looking for someone who possesses the qualities of the original Marco Polo – they should be an energetic and adventurous person who loves the challenge of the unknown. It’s vital that they enjoy exploring new things and sharing their stories from a different point of view. Zhao Hongzhong added: “The ultimate goal is to highlight Hangzhou’s many qualities as an ideal destination for tourists and a place where visitors have the chance to enjoy all that Chinese culture has to offer.”
The five shortlisted candidates are:
Brad Florescu https://www.youtube.com/watch?… (Romania) – Brad is a travel journalist who currently lives in Thailand. A travel blogger since 2006, he has received many local and international awards for blogging and photography. He is fan of storytelling and believes a good story makes a better world.
Benny Lance https://www.youtube.com/watch?… (France) – A keen cyclist, blogger and amateur video producer, Benny is originally from Eastern France and now lives in Paris. He has travelled extensively, having visited more than 30 different countries and believes the best thing about travelling is meeting new friends.
Kristie Hang https://www.youtube.com/watch?… (USA) – A TV host and social media enthusiast from Los Angeles, Kristie has travelled around China but hasn’t visited Hangzhou so far. She’s therefore keen to visit the city and is looking forward to experiencing authentic local life.
Dean Vowles https://www.youtube.com/watch?… (Australia) – Dean works for an advertising agency, specialising in social media. He is passionate about travel, adventure and exploring the folklore of a city and is looking to become a “living travel brochure” for Hangzhou.
Liam Bates https://www.youtube.com/watch?… (Switzerland) – A TV host, travel writer and university lecturer, Liam comes from a multinational background and grew up in Switzerland. Like Marco Polo, he first visited China when he was 17 years old and has had a love of Chinese Culture ever since. He speaks French, English and Mandarin.