The Jakarta Post
A visitor takes photos of a building in the abandoned city of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine June 2, 2019. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)
The success of HBO’s television miniseries based on the 1986 nuclear accident, Chernobyl, has led tourists and fans to visit the actual disaster site as a tourist attraction.
According to the Washington Post, tour companies such as SoloEast Travel and Chernobylwel stated that there had been a 30 percent increase in bookings made during May and up to the next few months.
Visitors are allowed to see the town of Pripyat in Ukraine and the power plant itself. However, some of the areas surrounding the power plant are off limits for safety reasons.
Although the series is based on actual events, the story includes a few fictional affairs that do not necessarily correspond to what really happened.
Nevertheless, Chernobyl has been praised for discussing numerous themes, such as political threats and careless management in weaponry and chemicals.
This phenomenon, however, has also drawn criticism, as the town with a bleak history is seen as an amusement park.
One company offers customers the chance to ride a protected vehicle as well as to try a power plant launch while they discover the “secrets and stories of the events that occurred”.
It has also launched “fridge magnets, radioactive ice cream and canned air”, which Sergii Ivanchuck, director of SoloEast Tour, finds “disgusting and humiliating” for people who still work at Chernobyl or pay visits to their abandoned houses.
When the Chernobyl Diaries film was released in 2012, the idea of an amusement park in the town also arose.
Judging by the number of visitors in recent years by SoloEast (11,000 customers) and the company (7,500), Ivanchuck believes the site used to be a sort of “extreme travel”.
“You were very brave to go to Chernobyl in 2000. Now, not so much,” he said. (vit/wng)