Even as it expands rapidly into the ocean cruise business, Viking continues to eye significant growth in its river cruise operations.
In a presentation Thursday in Shanghai, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen revealed the company plans at least 24 more river cruise vessels.
“The ocean cruise business (in North America) is growing at 5% per annum, and the river cruise market has grown at 15% per annum,” Torstein said at the event for Chinese media. “It’s a much smaller market, but it has been a very much more interesting product.”
Hagen’s presentation came just before the naming of Viking’s fourth ocean ship, Viking Sun, along the riverfront area of Shanghai known as the Bund. Viking announced last week that it planned to quadruple its ocean ship fleet to 16 vessels by 2027.
Hagen didn’t give a timetable for the roll-out of the 24 new river ships, which would be in addition to 65 river vessels Viking already has in operation. But Viking had previously announced plans to add a new river ship in Egypt this year and seven more river ships in Europe in 2019.
Viking’s river cruise business has grown at a blistering pace over the past decade, and the company already dominates the market for river cruises taken by North Americans. Viking currently operates more river cruise ships than three of its biggest competitors — AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways and Uniworld — combined.
In the presentation, Hagen said Viking had a 50% share of Americans traveling on European rivers.
Hagen said Viking’s revenue has hit $3 billion per year after growing 27% per year since 2012. The company now carries more than 440,000 passengers annually and has more than 8,000 employees, he added….
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