Swiss Village Bans Tourists From Taking Pictures - Prompting Group to Cancel Photography Trip

Berguin, Switzerland // Photo by Tinieder/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by travel writer and Lucy Aspden, The Telegraph, May 31, 2017

A little known village in Switzerland  has banned people from taking photos in an attempt, it says, to save jealous travellers around the world from a fear of missing out (or FOMO).

Bergün/Bravuogn in the Albula region, part of the Graubünden canton and just an hour from the celebrity hotspots of  St Moritz and Davos, announced the new law yesterday following a vote by the local council. From Wednesday anyone caught taking pictures in the village will be issued with a symbolic 5CHF (£4) fine.

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The news has forced one photography group to cancel a trip to the village this autumn. "Fortunately, there are other villages in Switzerland, where we are welcome," wrote Andreas Zürcher on Facebook.

The resort announced the ban in a statement on its website: “From today on, a community-wide photographing ban comes into effect in Bergün.”

“It is scientifically proven that beautiful vacation photos on social media make the viewers unhappy, because they themselves can not be on the spot.”

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Bergün, which come winter boasts 25km of ski slopes and a choice of cross-country skiing trails, is surrounded by picturesque alpine panoramas. Such landscapes are a sight familiar to all hikers, skiers and snowboarders, many of whom are more than keen to show off their location on social media. But not anymore - in Bergün at least.

This Swiss community is no longer willing to have its beauty disseminated, with pictures already removed from the resort's Facebook page and plans to remove them from its website too.

“I am very pleased that the happiness of all people is at the heart of the inhabitants of Bergün. That makes me proud,” Peter Nicolay, Mayor of Bergün/Bravuogn told The Local .

“We don’t want to make people outside the community unhappy by sharing social media photos of our picturesque landscape,” continued Nicolay, before extending an open invitation to visit the village to witness its beauty first hand.

Some on social media have questioned the nature of the legislation, calling it a publicity stunt to push the lesser-known resort into the spot light. That much, Marc-Andrea Barandun, the village’s director of tourism, admitted to The Local: “In the background of course the idea is that everyone is talking about Bergün.” He added that it was unlikely a fine would actually be imposed.

Indeed, the man who claimed to have changed his plans for a photography trip has no friends on his Facebook account and very little information, perhaps evidence that the account was created to feature in the campaign. 

Others, too, have voiced their opinion on social media.

“If this is true then it’s (a), the worst joke I’ve ever heard, and (b), for me a reason never to visit Bergün,” wrote one­.

Some applauded the resort's ballsy approach. “Perfect PR stunt!” wrote one, while others agreed with the intiative to save the beauty of the mountains for first-hand experiences only: “Great idea! Exactly right.”

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Following the dispute on its social media page the resort responded: “Dear Fans, thank you for all your comments. The fact that the new law and the associated action would not appeal to everyone, was of course aware of us.

"In order to make the whole of Switzerland aware of the beauty of our mountain village, however, today we need courageous ways, and we have chosen one. Thanks for your understanding and greetings from Bergün.”

 

This article was written by travel writer and Lucy Aspden from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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