(Koshertoday.com) Kosher travel internationally continues to pick up steam with travel experts noting that 2019 will be a record season. Some experts are saying that kosher travel has more than doubled from 2015. Europe remains a popular destination despite increased anti-Semitism. Poland and Italy, say the experts, remain extremely attractive, with such cities as Prague, Budapest and Paris also faring well. Some of the largest groups are arranged by Israeli tour operators, several of which have even organized “pop-up” kosher kitchens. Kosher hotels in many parts of Europe are very much in demand, most notably in Switzerland. A converted British castle in London, the Pilar, is rapidly becoming a destination for Orthodox Jewish and kosher travelers in the UK. “It’s the millennials that are having a major effect on kosher travel,” one expert told Kosher Today. “They, like their parents, are bent on exploring the world, including safari tours, travelling through Morocco and, of course, going on cruises. “We are now setting a new standard in the global industry, and now kosher, rich and varied food will be part of the culinary experience we offer in all of our ships,” Norwegian Cruise Line Vice President Nick Wilkinson said.
There are many domestic hotels such as the Arlington in New Hampshire, and several in the Poconos and the Catskills. Israel is also having a record tourist season with most hotels reporting virtually full capacity. Many program operators are already focused on Sukkot, which is rapidly joining Passover as a “must” travel period. Exact numbers were hard to come by but one tour operator guessed that the number worldwide of summer travelers seeking kosher was “somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000.” The Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel has become a major source of international travel. “There are not many companies that offer packages that, in effect, allow a traveler to leave his wallet at home. These are the reasons AACI has had over 30 cruises and hundreds of tours, and why so many English-speakers choose to travel with us, both in Israel and throughout the world,” said the AACI. The increased travel is having a positive effect on kosher food companies who now have a significant portfolio in kosher travel.