August 21, 2017

Kosher International Travel Soars in 2017; 25% Growth Projected

Maui, HI - Avi Lopian lucked out. When he was asked to cater a week-long stay by the Destiny Foundation, headed by Rabbi Berl Wein, at the Wailea Hotel, he did not anticipate that they would build a brand new kitchen and offer him all new dishes and flatware. “You might say that this is the first glatt kosher kitchen in Hawaii,” said Avi who certainly does not expect it to remain kosher beyond the time that his group of 40 toured the islands earlier this month. For vacationers in Hawaii, there is always the Chabad organization in Honolulu and even Ohau Kosher Caterers which delivers meals to hotels. One young honeymooning couple actually shipped food from Pomegranate in Brooklyn and was well taken care of by the chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui. Travel by kosher groups has exploded, say kosher travel experts. “It is no longer just a kosher cruise, now there are groups to many destinations in Europe, Southeast Asia and even South Africa and Australia,” said one travel expert. He projected that the business has grown by more than 25% in 2016, guessing that it was a $20-30 million business especially when you count in the Israelis. Members of one group were even caught in the terror attack in Barcelona with many of them being locked in by police at the Cafe Maccabi which is located in the busy tourist area of La Rambla, the site of the attack. The expert noted that what typically happens in the aftermath of these attacks is that there is pushback “but it does not last long.” Avi shipped some 53 boxes of kosher food, ordered wine on-line, and had the hotel’s world-class chefs use local natural ingredients and prepare the food. What is amazing, says Avi, is just how much hotel chefs know about kosher nowadays all over the world.