Chernobyl: The Impact of TV on…

Chernobyl: The Impact of TV on Dark Tourism

The historical drama, Chernobylgripped the nation after being released in May this year. The dramatic miniseries, directed for HBO, centres around the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear disaster and the cleanup efforts which followed. Compressed into this popular television miniseries, Chernobyl has received both praise and criticism (Source: This is Money) with a focus on its impact on the rise of dark tourism. 

The Top 50 Most Searched Term in the UK

Searches for “Chernobyl”
Mar 19 – Jun 19

searches for chernobyl
Source: Hitwise UK, searches for “chernobyl” Mar 19 to Jun 19

Searches for ‘Chernobyl’ peaked on the 4th of June this year, being the 42nd most searched for term in the UK, rising above ‘Anthony Joshua’ and ‘Love Island’. The Hill reported the popularity of this drama with the influx of visitors to the series. For the week ending 15th June 2019, searches for ‘Chernobyl tours’ also grew, 3894% YoY. However, it has received mixed reviews, as a world-renowned doctor who treated victims of the disaster questioned the scientific validity of the series, calling it “inaccurate” due to concealing certain truths according to the Daily Express.

The Rise in Dark Tourism

The surge in visits to Chernobyl illustrates the increase in dark tourism following the release of the miniseries. Hitwise shows that young males aged 18-24 are 74% more likely to be searching for ‘Chernobyl tours’. The Washington Post also stated how tourism companies reported a 30% to 40% uptick in visitors to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone since the miniseries aired, further emphasising the public’s attraction in visiting this new and unusual destination.

The Journey to Chernobyl 

With this spike in interest within the travel sector, some key questions and searches have been:

  • Is it safe to visit Chernobyl?
  • Where can you visit in Chernobyl?
  • 3 day Chernobyl tour with flights

So, who are the companies currently ‘winning’ these searches? 

  • TripAdvisor
  • Get your Guide
  • Expedia

The presence of dark tourism is on the rise, with new TV releases impacting the commercial industry across the globe. In addition to searches for and visits to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, this dark tourism is also seen in destinations such as Auschwitz, Phnom Penh and Medellin, to name just a few.

Watch the official Chernobyl trailer here


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