Disaster Tourism: Holidays in Chernobyl


The business in post-radioactive tourism is booming. The accident at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986 was the worst nuclear disaster in history. So what’s it like there today? Is it deadly silent? On the contrary. Thousands of tourists flock to the scene of the catastrophe every year.

Tour operators in Chernobyl are expecting more than 100,000 visitors in 2019. Tourists from all over the world come to take a tour of the ghost towns and learn more about the consequences of a nuclear accident. The organizers insist the area has been extensively cleaned up in the last few decades, so a brief stay shouldn’t pose any risk, but some areas are still heavily contaminated. Chemistry graduate Serhij Myrnyj was responsible for radiation monitoring after the accident. Today he is the biggest provider of tours to Chernobyl, trying to improve the region’s reputation and boost the economy through tourism. He now wants Chernobyl to receive UNESCO World Heritage Site status and so open up new prospects for the region. For the tourists, the trip to the restricted area is a unique experience, but for others it’s a tough existence. Former resident who returned home illegally after the evacuation live on the contaminated land here like recluses.



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