Published on Thursday, June 6, 2019

Explore sees four-fold rise in bookings for Chernobyl


Adventure travel operator Explore has seen a four-fold rise in bookings for its five-day Discover Chernobyl short break since the hit HBO drama about the explosion at Russia's nuclear power station in 1986 was broadcast.

The operator began offering trips to Chernobyl in 2016 and, following its success, it added a Discover Chernobyl short break in 2017, which became Explore's fastest selling trip.

Departures were increased by 50% last year and by a further 23% this year.

Explore MD Joe Ponte said: "The programme has become the highest-rated TV series of all time and has inspired many people to discover more about the historical disaster and to want to visit the Exclusion Zone. The safest way to do so is with an expert guide on one of our small-group tours.

"Across our entire programme of 500 trips, Chernobyl has been our highest enquired and booked over the last three days."

The 'Discover Chernobyl' short break includes two days exploring inside the Exclusion Zone featuring the abandoned town of Pripyat, the Red Forest, Chernobyl Docks and the 'New Safe Confinement' structure shell around Reactor 4. On the trip there is also the opportunity to meet a self-settler - one of the few people who chose to return to their home after the accident and has been living within the outer Exclusion Zone ever since.

On its website, Explore says that visitors to Chernobyl will receive five to seven micro Sieverts of gamma radiation, which is equivalent to spending several hours on an aircraft at altitude. However, visitors must be 18 or over as children are more susceptible to the effects of radiation.

The demand for package tours to Chernobyl backs up a 'Generation Travel' survey by digital media agency eight&four that found 24% of people would consider booking a package to somewhere that was tricky or dangerous to travel to independently.

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