Ukraine is working on a strategy to develop the Chernobyl zone as a tourist attraction, and also plans to give the EU and NATO the opportunity to use it for drills, the Ukrainian president’s press service reports.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree “On several matters concerning the development of territories subject to radioactive pollution as a consequence of the Chernobyl catastrophe”.
“The document envisages, in particular, the drafting and adoption of a development strategy for the Chernobyl zone as a tourist site… In addition, Ukraine plans to provide the opportunity to partners from EU and NATO states to carry out training exercises for preventing and eliminating emergencies in the Chernobyl zone,” the report states.
The decree obligates officials and law enforcement organizations to coordinate visits to the Chernobyl zone through an electronic cabinet.
“Unfortunately, to this day the exclusion zone is still a symbol of corruption in Ukraine. There are the bribes that the security officers collect from tourists, the illegal withdrawal of scrap metal and the exploitation of natural resources. We will put an end to all of this very quickly. Let us finally stop deterring tourists, and turn the exclusion zone into a scientific and future tourist magnet,” Zelensky said.
The decree stipulates that new tourist routes will be established, including a water route, and that new access control points will be built and the existing ones restored and upgraded.
“The baseless restrictions and prohibitions, for example, of taking videos, will be lifted. Ukraine will also promote tourist Chernobyl at the international events it participates in,” the announcement continues.
Cellular connectivity in the zone will be improved.
“The decree will be the start of the transformation of the exclusion zone into one of the growth points of the new Ukraine. First of all, we will create a “green corridor” for tourists and remove the preconditions for corruption… We must give new life to this Ukrainian territory. Until now, Chernobyl has been a negative part of Ukraine’s brand. The time has come to change this. Chernobyl is a unique place on the planet, where nature is being reborn after a global man-made catastrophe, where there is a real ‘ghost town’. We must show this place to the world, to scientists, ecologists, historians, tourists,” the president remarked.