The HBO miniseries Chernobyl has increased tourism of the nuclear site by 40 percent. The five-part historical drama aired early in May on the streaming service and chronicles the events that unfolded at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in April 1986 near the city of Pripyat, Ukraine. The episodes follow the explosion at the plant's fourth reactor and the radioactive fallout from it that killed hundreds of first responders, engineers, and bystanders in the first couple of weeks. It also covers the politics of it all, and how that affected those involved in the incident. It's been praised by critics and fans alike, even being referred to as the best HBO show in years.
The show couldn't have come at a more perfect time, either. It was a brand new, captivating, and incredibly evocative series for HBO subscribers, especially after Game of Thrones' divisive final season. It's also stayed true to its source material, something that Game of Thrones received flack for once it forged its own path away from George R. R. Martin's book series. It's raw storytelling that left viewers stunned, and apparently on the hunt to see the site for themselves.
According to Reuters, the success of the miniseries saw an upturn in tourism for the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat and the Chernobyl plant. One tour, the SoloEast tour, explained that the company, "saw a 30% increase in tourists going to the area in May 2019," adding in that, "bookings for June, July and August have risen by approximately 40% since HBO aired the show." Another tour guide who leads the Chernobyl Tour said he, "expected a similar increase of 30-40% because of the show."
The tour takes guests to see monuments of the victims, abandoned villages, and have lunch in the only restaurant in Chernobyl. They're also taken to see reactor number four, "which since 2017 has been covered by a vast metal dome 150 meters (344 ft) high which envelops the exploded core." According to tour guide Viktoria Brozhko, the visitors are safe and, "during the entire visit [...] you get around two microsieverts," which is equal to, "the amount of radiation you'd get staying at home for 24 hours."
Chernobyl is just the beginning of a new slate for HBO that appears strong post-Game of Thrones. With popular series making their triumphant returns, such as Big Little Lies and The Young Pope's sequel series The New Pope, along with epic adaptations like His Dark Materials and Watchmen, HBO subscribers are in for a banner year with the streaming giant. It's definitely a service worth keeping around, simply for the exciting things coming up on its slate.
It makes sense that the success of HBO's miniseries Chernobyl has sparked such an intrigue in its titular location. The high amount of accuracy that the show provides gives a terrific insight into the horrific incident and how it affected a large portion of Europe. Even though the site itself is said not to be habitable for humans for at least 20,000 years, the tours serve as an ideal way to educate visitors on the tragic incident and the effects that it had on the world.