River boat tourism on the rise in lower Mississippi River region
Little Rock, Arkansas – Riverboats filled with tourists are becoming more common along the Mississippi River and it could provide an economic spark for the city of Memphis and parts of Northeast Arkansas.
According to AAA Travel advisors, a significant increase in U.S. River cruise interest and bookings has been reported.
2022 domestic river cruise bookings have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, up 25% from 2019 year-to-date, the latest data from AAA Travel showed.
“U.S. river cruising offers a completely unique travel experience, especially when compared to traditional oceanic voyages,” said Jan Borje, vice president of travel services, AAA Missouri. “The modest passenger guest counts on many domestic river cruises create an intimate and personalized setting that more and more travelers are seeking.”
In order to accommodate more tourist traffic from the riverboats, renovations have been ongoing along Memphis’ riverfront.
The Beale Street Landing was completed in 2014 to accommodate boats that are up to 400 feet in length.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, riverboats landing there were up 32% in 2019.
The economic impacts to the region from riverboat tourists visiting the region are expected to exceed $100 million annually by 2022.