Malcolm Green. (Mainly for the U.K. Jewish traveler)
If you look back on what was offered to strictly kosher travelers when I first entered the travel business in 1970, you would have found kosher hotels in Bournemouth and Brighton and “kosher” boarding houses in Blackpool etc., catering to the Jews from Manchester and all points North. Plus, travelling to Israel was still an adventure and the other option was a few seasonal kosher hotels in Italy.
How times have changed! So, what can we expect in the next few years? Israel will still be a major attraction for the kosher traveler, mainly because of the plethora of kosher eateries and of course the whole ambience of being in an (almost) totally Jewish environment. Eilat still presents problems, as the passenger has to transfer from Ben Gurion to go down south. Hopefully, when the new international airport is completed, flights can go straight from London to Eilat; maybe somebody can speak to easyJet!
So, what else is on the horizon? The major American cities all have kosher restaurants, if not hotels. Regarding flights, if you can believe this, when Diane and I flew to Miami on our honeymoon in 1978 we paid £168 per ticket. On a calculated value of income, the value of that amount today is £1403!! So we can see how low cost, comparatively, flights are today. So, that’s the traditional holidays covered and I think that these will still be as popular as ever.
What is the kosher traveler looking for now? Many cruise companies throughout the world offer the opportunity to have “kosher meals” onboard, Kosher River Cruise offers glatt kosher cruises throughout the world. Other companies are offering trips to the Galapagos, Jewish interest tours of Spain, Italy and most of Eastern Europe.
Many companies are offering summer and winter holidays in either part or the whole of classic hotels throughout the world. The French seem to be the leaders in this. I was catering for a small family group in Mauritius at the same time as a French company was presenting a 4-week holiday programme in one of the best hotels on the island. Of course, all of us know that in most of the world nowadays you can get a meal with Chabad. The value for money and the quality varies from place to place. But a little story can illustrate that in the interest of kashrut you take what you can.
Myself, my wife and, at the time, my young children visited Disneyworld in 1988. We ordered kosher meals and when they arrived, in the usual double foil, my wife queried the price $17.50 per meal. My 7-year-old son Adam said, “as long as it’s kosher the price doesn’t matter”. Many people are now looking for bespoke kosher holidays all over the Globe. There are quite a few companies specialising in this and destination weddings. We have catered these types of events in Spain, Italy, Crete, Hawaii, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, St. Maarten plus Ireland and Scotland.
This year we are adding Nevis, Eastern Europe and South America to the list. So wherever you are thinking of going in the next few years there are companies out there looking to help you with finding kosher tours. I want to give a warning about certain companies that say they are kosher and guarantee this fact. Check their credentials thoroughly. Don’t leave it till you are on site to ask these questions. Always find out where the food is being cooked, on what plates they are being served, and etc. I have heard horror stories of one company where the owner claims to be the guide, chef and Mashgiach all rolled into one!
So for the upcoming holidays enjoy yourselves go where you want and eat kosher!!
For details of Kosher River Cruises programmes:
+44(0)20 3393 6823