A talk with Karen Federko Sefer —Founder of Vibrant Turkey - A division of Sea Song Tours
It’s a movement happening in the travel industry where the laid back baby boomers and young creative generation are looking for travel experiences that are more current. They don’t want to conform to the rules of traditional luxury.
How did you come up with the idea of Vibrant Turkey?
I realized this new generation of travelers wanted something that we were not offering and decided to create a new brand: Vibrant Turkey for these travelers.
Who are those travellers?
The travellers are artists, musicians, and intellectuals as well as with people who work in exciting service industries like advertising, marketing, and publishing and have shaped the digital evolution. Vibrent Turkey aims to design creative experiences for these travelers.
To offer the latest travel products that are on trend, cultural and design-led, with a true sense of style.
What are your missions as well as visions for Vibrant Turkey?
I believe that Vibrant Turkey is a ground breaking travel company in Turkey that will lead to the arrival of a different group of travelers that have not experienced the amazing transformation of Istanbul and the beauty of Turkey.
You have a considerable amount of knowledge about Turkey particulary Istanbul - how would you describe it to a foreigner who has no clue of this country?
I have been residing in Istanbul for the last 15 years and have witnessed the transformation of this amazing city of Istanbul as well as the entire country. I have extensive knowledge in all aspects of travel in Turkey and have focused particularily on the evolution of Istanbul from a tourist destination to a European Capital. Turkey is an amazing mix of East and West full of authentic experiences.
What is your personal view of Istanbul?
Istanbul is my home! Istanbul is a very special city rich with history, culture, and creativity. Istanbul is alive and full of energy. It is a design capital that is emerging on the art, fashion, film and marketing scene.
Has the perceptions about Turkey changed over the years?
Absolutely! In the past there were many pre-concieved notions of what Turkey was like and travelers were not sure about coming to Turkey. Over the years, travelers have discovered that Turkey is a gem that everyone should visit. Now, Turkey is on everyone's bucket list.
Do you think that there are still undiscovered places in Istanbul?
There will always be undiscovered places in Istanbul as there are so many neighborhoods being transformed and different entrepreneurs are developing identities for these areas. You can walk anywhere in Istanbul and find something new and exciting. The sky is the limit for Istanbul, all doors are open.
There is a strong belief that Istanbul is on the rise in terms of arts and culture; even fashion. Would you agree to that observation and if so how do you evaluate this phenomenon?
I certainly agree, as you can see new emerging art galleries, art and film festivals, boutiques, and creative energy all over the city. From Ottoman times to the present, design has always been important in Istanbul. People feel more free to express themselves and show their creativity today and Istanbul is recognised for this design talent.
Istanbul has a very unique quality when travelers arrive from the West. They see a beautiful European Capital with a mystical feeling that is difficult to explain. They see a skyline that they can not see anywhere in the world. Turkey and Istanbul have so much to offer a traveler in terms of authentic, unique experiences that it can make a difference in the way these travelers see this part of the world.
Could you state the 5 highlights of Istanbul?
What do you think is the appeal of Bodrum?
Bodrum has emerged as the place to be for fun, action, and meeting the trendy crowd. Bodrum is all about the sea, yachting, beaches, seafood, active sports, exploring the nature and partying. Bodrum has rejected mass tourism and embraced the cutting edge, hip and cool instead.
With what feelings will your clients leave the country after having travelled with Vibrant Turkey?
They will feel that they have explored a country full of energy, culture, history, hospitality, fun, tastes, design, and will bring home a lasting memory with an overwhelming urge to return and explore more.