MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - More big business is on its way to Memphis. A major international company announced it will dock at Beale Street Landing.
The cruise industry has a track record of boosting business with a lot of foot traffic. That foot traffic is expected to grow in Memphis now that Viking River Cruises is making New Orleans its home port in North America.
"Any time there's a cruise, it's docked right here along the river, so we see a lot of that right before they leave or when they get back," said Memphis business owner Murphy Christina.
Six new boats will be built over the next three years. Each will take people on the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Memphis, St. Louis, and St. Paul with stops at ports along the way.
"We are designing a new type of ship. It will take 338 passengers, unfortunately it will not have paddlewheels. It will be modern," said Torstein Hagan, Viking River Cruises.
Viking River Cruises is headquartered in Switzerland. It's the company's first venture into North American cruising and tourists are ready to get on board.
The deal with the cruise line has been three years in the making. Once it begins, it will bring thousands of more visitors to Memphis through Beale Street Landing, which was specifically designed to handle passenger ships.
Viking River Cruises expects to begin Mississippi River cruises through Memphis in 2017.