Orlando…For most of an estimated 30,000 Passover vacationers, the popular tourist city of Orlando was everything they expected. Mostly, there were few issues with accommodations or with food reaching the vacationers as in past years. The only real exception was “A Different Pesach Program” where the operator was faced with a far smaller registration than expected, resulting in some changes in the use of the public space and the way the food was handled. But even there participants were extremely complimentary the way some people stepped in to fill the void. One guest at the program told Kosher Today that the press reports about people being evicted and shortages of food was nothing short of “fake news.” Alan Sakowitz, another participant, wrote: “Yes, it was a different Pesach Program and many said it was their best Pesach ever. A guest from Atlanta volunteered that it reminded him of the hurricane where North Miami Beach residents trekked up to Atlanta and no one worried if a house had enough space or there was enough food. Everyone shared everything and everyone was there for each other.” For the most part there were few issues at hotel and programs around the world with most reporting upward of 75% occupancy.
According to Israeli tourist sources, a record number of Israelis left the country for Passover with many vacationing in nearly a dozen European countries. The sources estimated that well over 30,000 Israelis were in hotels in Israel and other destinations. On-line sites featured a heated debate of what an ideal Passover represents with some opinions leaning towards staying home while others favoring the “destination” programs. All of the knowledgeable sources reached by Kosher Today agreed that an increasing number of Jews were “going away” on Passover. They said that while this year’s calendar favored going away, this trend has been increasing over the past 5 years. Kosher Food distributors say that orders from the Passover programs were up by an estimated 15%.