River cruise operators launch packages for Chinese tourists
As the COVID tide ebbs, cruise operators are preparing to restart operations, with Viking Cruises saying that it has begun offering outbound river cruise tours for Chinese travelers.
The Viking Eistla and Viking Bestla river cruise ships will take in Chinese passengers starting in June.
It will sail on the Rhine river for 11 days with stops in Cologne, Strasbourg, Lucerne, among others, in four countries.
They will set sail from either Amsterdam or Basel and will visit historic castles, churches and dreamlike European villages, as well as museums and savor regional specialties and Old-World wine while admiring the scenic scenery.
A total of 40 voyages are planned for the year, with each ship capable of carrying 180 passengers.
According to Viking Cruises, it is actively planning the voyages in light of the rising demand from Chinese tourists.
"We are always full of confidence on China market and are actively adapting to the changing market trend and environment," said Brendan Tansey, managing director of Viking Cruises China. "We are expecting to meet our Chinese friends on river cruise ships in Europe this summer."
Before the COVID outbreak affected outbound travel, Viking Cruises once said that the Rhine route was one of the most popular tours among Chinese.
The operator said that changes had been made based on feedback received from Chinese tourists and the most recent tourism data from the destinations.
The itinerary has been made more flexible and relaxed, with the most iconic and popular sightseeing items retained and additional options for guests based on their preferences.
The COVID-19 outbreak had forced travel agencies and online tour operators to halt their outbound group excursions for Chinese nationals, but they have now been given the go-ahead on a trial basis.
The China Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on January 20 that travel agencies and online tour operators could organize group trips to 20 countries starting February 6.