Recently, we learned that Jason Mesnick, the titular Bachelor on ABC’s 13th edition of its hit reality series, had joined Australia and New Zealand vacation wholesale specialist Down Under Answers (or DUA) as a business development manager. Mesnick attended Corroboree in his new role, and we got to chat with him about the company, his involvement, and his love of travel.
Kirk Demeter, the owner of Down Under Answers, had helped Mesnick plan his second trip to New Zealand, and suggested that Mesnick’s wife Molly help out with the South Africa branch of DUA after they celebrated their honeymoon there. Instead, Mesnick suggested he join the team instead.
“I’ve had a couple different careers,” he said, “and what I love more than anything is travel.” After a few trips with Down Under Answers, he was hooked on New Zealand, and it only took one visit to Australia to get him hooked as a member of the DUA team.
He’s been with the job since May, and feels that the best part of the gig is the travel he gets to do around the country. He’s been to most of the major cities, and has several more lined up. “I want to go to a place I’ve never been before,” he said. “It’s not about staying in a nice hotel or eating in a fancy restaurant.” One of his best travel experiences in Australia, he remembers, was at a youth hostel on Kangaroo Island, sharing a room with other visitors from other countries. “To me, that’s what travel’s about, and that’s why I took the job,” he says.
Part of his job is filming a web-based series that takes its cue from The Bachelor, following Mesnick as he searches not for the woman of his dreams, but for the place of his dreams. “We’re having a lot of fun with it,” he says. “I can show more of my personality vs. what the network wanted people to see.” Beyond that, he says, he wants to partner with tourism boards of every state and territory and airlines like Qantas and V Australia and help them promote travel to Australia. Specifically, he wants to focus on the youth market. If people go backpacking through the country during college, he suggests, they may well want to come back for their honeymoon. "And when they have kids and grandkids, they'll come back again." Australia, he added, is not a once-in-a-lifetime trip anymore, and travelers can take a long-term view in regards to exploring everything it has to offer.