Viking River Cruises may come to America's Hometown

The Hannibal Riverfront Task Force held a public meeting to discuss the possibility of having Viking Riverboat Cruises dock in Hannibal, along with other amenities.

New developments to the Hannibal Riverfront could be on the way, but it's an idea that still needs to win some approval.

The Hannibal Riverfront Task Force held a public meeting to discuss the possibility of having Viking Riverboat Cruises dock in Hannibal.

Many ideas were also discussed about how to improve Hannibal's riverfront.

Those ideas included talk about new playground equipment, a spray pad fountain, more greenery, and more.

No decisions have been decided yet, but a revamped riverfront along with Viking River Cruises certainly would bring something different to the area.

Andrew Dorian, the Director of Parks and Recreation says the city side of the tourism department has been meeting with Viking for some time.

"They kind of looked at us obviously because of Mark Twain and the history here as a destination for our tours," Dorian said.

He said this would be a great economic opportunity for Hannibal.

"Many times you can bring more tourism to your comunity to spend money and a company like Viking that can come in and spend money, well you've got to jump on that if you can," Dorian said.

Dorian said in addition to the current riverboat cruises, the Viking Riverboat Cruises would bring a great deal of tourism.

"Viking, at the end of what they do, they're looking at six boats by 2020. Which would bring an additional each year, 36,000 to 37,000 tourists a year to the community," Dorian said.

Gail Bryant, the Director of Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau says the Viking Riverboat cruise will only compliment the cruises Hannibal already has.

"I think it's an excellent idea for Hannibal. I mean it would be an addition to what we have with the riverboats we have coming to Hannibal right now," Bryant said.

She also said having the riverfront revitalized is a great opportunity for Hannibal.

"It's going to make a great first impression for any of our new visitors. But it's also going to be a possitive for the returning visitors," Bryant said.

Bryant said the area is a perfect fit.

"Mark Twain of course was all about the river so having a beautiful riverfront would be key," Bryant said.

Not everyone is on board with this plan - there were several people at the meeting who didn't necessarily approve of Viking River Cruises coming to town.

Some are concerned that it will disrupt boating in the area and negatively impact residents who use the marina.

Andrew Dorian says it will be a lengthy process to make this happen, and more public meetings will be held.

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