Ukraine’s Chernobyl might be on track to become 2019′s surprise tourism destination, after a widely discussed HBO miniseries resulted in a surge in bookings for trips to the site and the nearby town that were abandoned after a major nuclear accident in 1986.

Trip bookings for May 2019 were 30 percent higher than May 2018, and were up over the next three months, as well, said Sergii Ivanchuk, director of SoloEast Travel, which organizes trips to the nuclear power plant and its surrounding areas.
SoloEast Travel旅游公司经理Sergii Ivanchuk透露 2019年五月的预定量比2018年五月高出30%,接下来的三个月也在持续上涨。该旅游公司组织去切尔诺贝利核电站和周围地区的旅游。


On their tours, visitors usually head to the abandoned town of Pripyat, next to the power plant, which was evacuated within hours, and other sites, including the former power plant itself. Radiation levels during the trips are considered to be safe, but the area around the power plant remains largely uninhabited.

HBO’s “Chernobyl” — a mix of real events and fictional accounts — hit a nerve when it was released this spring.

The silence at the time from Soviet officials who were unwilling to acknowledge that the catastrophe had happened reminded some of the wavering trust they have in their own politicians to tell them the truth.

Interest in the series itself echoes some of the big political debates of our time: truth vs. lies, Russia vs. the West, and the realization that disasters can easily transcend borders.

The flocking of tourists to Chernobyl is likely to feed into another debate: How should we commemorate a human-made disaster of the scale of Chernobyl without turning the site — which exposed hundreds of thousands to radiation — into an adventure theme park?