2020 is the best time to travel to Chernobyl. Paradox? Not at all!
Whatever you say, tourism is a thankful business. The borders had not yet been opened after the pandemic, but people had already begin booking their long-planned trips. The European Union internally called to gradually open their internal borders to save the tourist season. Turkey announced that it will continue to invite tourists this summer. Yes, it is useless to compare it to 2019, but tour operators around the world already talking about a gradual, although not massive, restart of work.
In Ukrainian realities, we can talk more about restarting domestic tourism. In the hospitality, there are many talented and experienced professionals who had been working during lockdown, and were engaged in the development and improvement of tourism products. And this situation is probably also for the better, because sometimes it seems that foreigners know more about Ukraine than we all do.
However, Ukrainian tour operators are still waiting for the opening of the borders. Because many people are interested in visiting our country - numerous requests from tourists prove this. Especially in the last two weeks. When there was an information regarding the weakening of lockdown and restart of transport connections between some countries.
I also can confirm the increase of requests for trips to the Chernobyl zone. Because April-May traditionally is the hottest time for Chernobyl tourism: people are wanting to get into the Chernobyl zone on the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. This trend has been growing every year, but the high season this year has been destroyed by a pandemic.
Another disaster that befell the Chernobyl zone this year - is the largest fire since creation of the Zone. Yes, we knew that over time some memorial sites of the Exclusion Zone will disappear, because it is logical: nature takes its toll, buildings are destroyed, abandoned villages are overgrown. However, who would have thought that this could happen as suddenly and as massively as this year.
Fortunately, the trouble did not destroy iconic relics, however, some processes are inevitable. For example, the ghost town of Pripyat is more and more absorbed by nature every year.
Left in 1986 and protected by radiation, Soviet banners, slogans and murals, which attract visitors a lot, disappear every year. Now, visiting Pripyat, people get a unique experience, like a mix: they have visited a post-apocalyptic future, where nature is gaining its own, and at the same time a country that no longer exists - the Great and Unshakable Soviet Union. But in the near future it can all turn into ruins, forever swallowed by the forest. Unfortunately.
Every year, books, notebooks, toys and children's drawings disappear. Everything that still left, and is so attractive for the visitors. Relics disappear: towels, dishes, paintings, icons, agricultural supplies. Unique houses of Ukrainian Polissia region are gradually falling apart. Eyewitnesses of the Chernobyl tragedy are passing away.
Time erases this page of our history forever.
- We need to evaluate and document the property. It is necessary to realize that everything that is there now and has zero value is priceless, because this is the story not only of our people, but of all mankind.
- Preserve and open for visitors the key objects of the city of Pripyat. Yes, it takes time and money, but if we do not do it now after a while, there will be nothing to save. Perhaps due to additional security and control measures, this place will cease to be an attraction for fans to look into every abandoned corner, but this must be done to save the city at least for the next generation.
All of the above is not intended to bring fear or panic. This is further evidence that important processes are taking place right now. And I am convinced that now it is the best time to travel to the Chernobyl zone. Use the opportunity and to capture all these memorable places. While they still exist.
It will not be superfluous to raise the question: is it safe to visit this place now? The Chernobyl zone in 1986 and the Zone today are completely different places. In the 1986, radiation burned all live and turned a huge territory of 2600 sq. Km into dead land. But nature won and resumed. Removing the topsoil, washed houses, paved new roads, people cleared most of this land and reduced radiation levels significantly. Safe routes to visit created. Guides are well trained and responsible for the safety of the tourists. Individual dosimeters are in use, and before leaving the territory all the tourists go through several strict stages of safety checks and measurements. The radiation dose per day in the Exclusion Zone is 3 microsievert, equal to four hours of flight by plane.
Do we need to visit the Chernobyl zone? This place will definitely not leave nobody emotionnelles. Nobody! The Chernobyl zone is very multifaceted. Anyone who has visited the Exclusion zone at least once, perceives the world completely differently and learns a lot of new things. This is actually a unique experience that every person living in the world after Chernobyl should get.
And if you ever thought about visiting the Chernobyl zone, you should hurry up.