Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin is calling on tourists headed to the infamous disaster zone to remember that they are visiting the site of a tragedy.
“It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion. But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around,” Mazin said on Twitter Tuesday.
“If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed,” he added.
The highly-rated HBO miniseries dramatizes the aftermath of what is widely recognized as the world’s most disastrous nuclear explosion. The Zone of Exclusion — the radius around the power plant from which civilians were asked to evacuate and later expanded — has experienced an influx of visitors since the show’s premiere in May.
The tour company SoloEast, known for its Chernobyl tours, has experienced a 35 percent increase in bookings to that area, according to a CNN report.
“Most of the people say they decided to book after seeing this show. It’s almost as though they watch it and then jump on a plane over,” the company’s director Victor Korol told the outlet.
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The Ukrainian government opened Chernobyl for tourism in 2011, but it won’t be safe for humans to live in the Exclusion Zone for 24,000 years. The 1986 explosion emitted 400 times the radioactivity as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II, and Korol said that the most asked question from tourists is about safety.
“It’s absolutely safe. The government would never allow tourists to come otherwise,” he told CNN. “The radiation they are exposed to on a tour is less than on an intercontinental flight.”
Anywhere between 31 to 54 operators and first responders died within three months of the accident.
In 2005, the United Nations predicted that thousands would die as a result of harmful radiation exposure from the power plant explosion, based on the findings of an international team of 100 scientists, according to the World Health Organization.
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A Greenpeace report published a year later predicted there would be more than 200,000 related deaths.
Nonetheless, the Ukrainian site and city of Pripyat — host to an abandoned amusement park — have become popular destinations. Visitors can only travel to Chernobyl with a licensed guide, and a day tour costs about $99, according to CNN.
Per the Chicago Tribune, Chernobyl hosted nearly 72,000 visitors in 2018, up from 50,000 the year before.