Design rendering for one of Viking's Polar Class expedition ships. (image courtesy of Viking)
Earlier this week Viking Cruises announced the addition of eight new ships to its riverboat line at a ceremony in Paris, quite an expansion for the company during its 25th anniversary.
But amidst all the pomp and circumstance, Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen made a confident remark about launching new ships at a tenuous time in the world, especially coming off two years of a pandemic.
Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen with Meyer Werft’s Bernard Mayer during the Viking Longships Naming ceremony in Paris. (photo via Viking Cruises Media)
“I consider this thing, COVID, is really behind us,” Hagen said, according to Fortune Magazine. “There are more of us who will get it. But now it’s a much less serious thing, and we should get back to life as normal.”
The comment was not necessarily startling, as many in the travel industry believe we’ve seen the worst that the pandemic will throw at us. As a result, many countries across the globe have loosened or removed their entry requirements and restrictions to encourage more tourism.
That would bode well for Viking, a company that was coming off a literal high in 2019, the last year before the coronavirus spread worldwide. Fortune noted that Viking had its highest amount of revenue ever with $3 billion in 2019.
And with a pent-up demand for travel, Hagen said he believes Viking is already on pace barely three months into 2022 to surpass that $3 billion figure this year.
Hagen’s airline counterpart, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, said a day before the Viking press conference that he more or less considered the pandemic to be over.
“People have decided to start traveling again. And in the last three weeks the governments of the world have decided it’s time to go, that the COVID era is over,” Bastian said while in London. “We’re moving into a period where we’re managing this virus, rather than being managed by it.”