‘Siri’ says recalculate

KAREN Jacobsen is the voice we associate to finding a solution when we feel lost.

Karen’s life changed when she became the voice of ‘Siri” in 2011, which at the time technology was changing the way we travelled to our destination, through the invention known as the GPS.

And it is her voice that is navigating travellers to The Whitsunday’s as the official Destination Ambassador.


Growing up in Mackay, Karen moved to Manhattan 20 years ago as a singer/songwriter, speaker, and voice over artist.

When COVID- 19 outbreak took hold in the United States, Karen and her family packed up and moved back to Australia to see out the global pandemic.

Karen said the aim of her role as the official Destination Ambassador for the Whitsundays was to grow The Whitsundays tourism industry.

And it has done just that a $11M return on the initial Wonders of the Whitsundays’ campaign

“The aim is to encourage Queenslanders and Aussies to come and experience everything this region has to offer, including the Great Barrier Reef”.

Karen said being clear about the intent of a product or campaign and having technology serve the impact, is important to make the most powerful use of technology.

“When I recorded the voice system, I had no idea it would be part of such a technological revolution. When we are at the effect of technology and go through the motions without being intentional about our actions, we can be consumed by content”.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer Natassia Wheeler said it made sense to partner with Karen to help navigate visitors to The Whitsundays – as her voice is recognisable in navigating Siri users across the world.

Ms Wheeler said part of Karen’s role is endorsing Tourism Whitsundays to move forward, to create a new path.

Since COVID-19 hit the region’s shores over a year ago, the tourism industry has had to adapt and develop a new range of skills to recalculate how tourists visit our region. 

“To help us cut through the competitive domestic market, Karen provided voiceovers for activity across recent campaigns through addressable TV, radio and Spotify to navigate consumers to The Whitsundays. 

"It brought a fun and new element to our activity and engaged consumers with the recognisable voice”.

Ms Wheeler said some of the changes Tourism Whitsundays has had to implement in the past 12 months, was to their ability to change direction at any time.

“We threw out our marketing strategy and began again, knowing that we would need to be agile ad change at any time”.

“Having a little star power behind the launch of the Wonders of The Whitsundays campaign certainly helped with the level of coverage the campaign received. When the campaign launched there was coverage on prime-time news and substantial editorial in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

“The campaign generated more than a 12:1 return on investment.”

Ms Wheeler said the hopes for the future of the industry was to return visitation to the Whitsundays to pre-Cyclone Debbie figures of $850 million in expenditure and 1 million in visitation.

And part of that lies in the industry recalculating and rethinking its   future, which is one of Karen’s vast skill sets.

“Being able to recalculate is an essential tool.

“I believe we can always make another move toward how we would love our lives and businesses to be,” Karen said.

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