Orlando- The Gross family was all set to board a Delta flight to Orlando on the Thursday before Passover when they learned that weather related issues had cancelled their flight. To make matters worse, after being on hold for nearly 3 hours, Delta could not “guarantee” them a flight until Monday evening, which would have meant a flight too close to the holiday. With few choices, left, the Grosses loaded up their van and began the 18- hour or so drive. Hasidic entertainer and singer Lipa Schmeltzer and his family found themselves looking for a Passover program that would enjoy his considerable talents when the Mitsis Blue Domes in Kos-Greece abruptly cancelled. He and his family ultimately ended up in Cancun. The Greece program was one of a half dozen programs that cancelled their programs leaving hundreds of would be vacationers to make alternate plans. The cancellations, say travel experts, actually helped many programs increase their occupancy rates. Even in South Florida where the Zyka scare continued to wreak havoc on tourism, occupancy increased as many of the stranded ended up there.
Despite these mishaps, Passover 2017 was an overwhelming success with an estimated 80,000 American Jews travelling to destinations all over the world. Sources say that the number of people that left their homes for nearly 100 Passover programs increased by more than 12% over 2016 and most likely will continue to increase in 2018. Orlando is increasingly becoming a major Passover destination with more than 1,000 homes and villas occupied by Passover vacationers. In addition, hundreds vacationed in major hotels like the Waldorf-Astoria, Hyatt-Regency and the Rosen Plaza.