The writer and producer of hit HBO series Chernobyl has urged tourists to ‘comport’ themselves when visiting the exclusion zone and the town of Pripyat, reminding them that ‘a terrible tragedy occurred there’.
The area has seen a rise in tourism since the five-part series aired, with Sergiy Ivanchuk, director of SoloEast tours, telling Reuters the company has seen a 30 percent increase in tourists visiting the area in May 2019, compared with the same month last year.
He said bookings for June, July and August have also risen by approximately 40 percent since HBO aired the show.
A quick flick through Instagram will show that there are more than 275,000 photos tagged with the hashtag #Chernobyl – which has become something of a hotspot for social media users and influencers to pose for daring pictures.
“It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion,” show creator Craig Mazin tweeted.
“But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around. If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there.
“Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”
Many others have slammed those taking #Chernobyl pics for the ‘gram as ‘sickening’, with one person commenting: “You did an exceptional job of showing the human actions and reactions – failings, frailties as well as the principled and honorable acts – with emotion, reverence, and respect. This program that will remain with me. Unfortunate that some would use it to further themselves.”
Someone else said: “Sickening. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were putting up links to various charities that would benefit hugely from the publicity.”
A third wrote: “Thank you for reminding people of this. Also, thank you, the cast and crew for the show and the podcast. The real victims portrayed deserve to be remembered for their sacrifices.”
Another added: “Some of the selfies are totally wrong.”
Others compared the spate of pictures to similar tourist snaps at spots like the 9/11 site and concentration camps in Germany and Poland.
One person tweeted: “It’s akin to visiting Aushwitz. Definitely not meant to be a joyous occasion and definitely questionable in terms of safety.”
Another added: “9/11 site is still full of smiling people, all taking selfies and shitposting in the desperate attempt to make themselves individually more popular. That’s phone culture for you…”
When we spoke to Martin Duben – one of the people behind CHERNOBYLwel.com, a tour operators taking anyone willing into the exclusion zone – he also admitted that trips to the destination had become so popular that it’s now ‘crowded’.
He said: “It depends what time of the year you go, the spring and autumn are crowded – in April, May, September and October there are thousands of visitors per weekend.
“The ghost town of Pripyat is not a ghost town at all, you have a hard time trying to take a picture where there is no-one there. There’s too many tourists.”
Featured Image Credit: Instagram