As Hurtigruten Group reports its first-quarter results, the expedition cruise operator’s updated booking report shows very positive signs on the travel industry’s post-pandemic comeback.Across Hurtigruten Expeditions, the world’s largest expedition cruise company, and Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, bookings for 2022 are currently 45% ahead of bookings for 2020 as of the same time in 2019.

“There is a huge pent-up demand for travel, and we see a substantial and growing demand for authentic adventure travel. After a very challenging year and a half for the entire travel industry, we are extremely excited about our step-by-step return to operations,” said Hurtigruten Group CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

While bookings for 2022 are already well ahead of the pre-pandemic levels, recent positive news on travel restrictions being lifted in multiple countries, and the introduction of vaccine passports to ease international travel has further accelerated bookings over the past 30 days, according to Hurtigruten Group.

“These results are a positive sign of a rebound stimulated by a clear and transparent path mapped out by forward thinking governments across Europe, UK and USA that have concentrated on a responsible vaccine rollout,” says Damian Perry, Managing Director, AsiaPacific.

“Over the years, we have seen a trend that travelers seek out truly unique travel experiences, with an extreme increase in demand for the type of small ships / big experiences adventure travel we offer. But the pandemic has dramatically pushed this development forward,” added Skjeldam.

“Companies offering unique and more sustainable experiences – such as small-ship expedition cruises – are perfectly positioned for a quicker and stronger post-pandemic comeback,” concluded Skjeldam.

Some highlights from the updated Hurtigruten Group booking report includes:
• Bookings for 2022 are currently 45% ahead of bookings for 2020 as of the same time in 2019.
• Positive booking momentum for 2H 2021 has further improved over the last 30 days for regional European travellers, following positive news on the potential lifting of travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers this Northern Hemisphere summer.
• 2022 booking inflow over the last 30 days is 101% higher than the 2020 booking inflow for the same 30-day period in 2019. If adjusted for re-bookings, the growth in new bookings is 34% compared to the same period in 2019.