HBO’s Chernobyl has become a surprising international hit and has inspired an influx of Instagram hungry tourist wanting to see the plant and the nearby abandoned town for themselves.
The miniseries covering the 1986 disaster finished its five-episode run on June 3, and as of Thursday had the highest audience ranking on IMDb, with 9.6 out of 10 stars – beating even such mega-hit series as Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones.
And the show’s popularity has led to a wave of tourism, with most agencies claiming that they’ve seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in the tours they’ve given to the exclusion zone and the town of Pripyat.
Sergiy Ivanchuk, director of SoloEast tours, told Reuters that the company saw a 30 percent increase in tourists going to the area in May 2019 compared with the same month last year. Bookings for June, July and August have risen by approximately 40 percent since HBO aired the show, he said.
Yaroslav Yemelianenko, director of Chernobyl Tour, said he expected a similar increase of 30-40 percent because of the show.
In Pripyat, the ghost town once home to 50,000 people who mainly worked at the plant, an amusement park houses a rusting hulk of a merry-go-round and dodgem-car track, and a giant Ferris wheel that never went into operation.
Thirsty influencers have flocked to the ferris wheel and made it a prime spot for their spicy photos.
They’ve also frequented the exclusion zone inside Chernobyl and various photo snappers have been pictured in plastic radiation suits.
Another trendy snap shows brave souls holding radiation detectors in an effort to show how radioactive the area still is.
A majority of the Instagram posts tag Pripyat as the location but use incendiary hashtags connected to the disastrous nuclear accident.
The posts have become so frequent that Craig Mazin, the writer and producer behind the popular miniseries, took to his Twitter to tell people to be respectful.
‘It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion,’ he said in a Tuesday tweet. ‘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.’