Swiss village bans tourists from taking photos because it’s ‘too beautiful’

The Bergün/Bravuogn commune has outlawed pictures because they might make others on social media feel unhappy

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 31 May 2017 10:50 BST
This village says it is 'too beautiful' for photos
This village says it is 'too beautiful' for photos (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A village in Switzerland has voted to ban tourists from taken photos.

The commune of Bergün/Bravuogn near St Moritz decided to take the measure on Monday – but it’s all to make people happier, reports The Local.

Locals believe that their village is so beautiful that visitors’ pictures of it, when uploaded to social media, will make other people miserable.

“It is scientifically proven that beautiful holiday photos on social media make the viewer unhappy because they cannot be there themselves,” said a statement from the tourist office.

The village plans to implement a symbolic €5 fine on those caught breaking the new rules.

“Bergün/Bravuogn is beautiful,” added the Mayor, Peter Nicolay. “We don’t want to make people outside the community unhappy by sharing social media photos of our picturesque landscape, and we cordially invite you to visit Bergün to experience it for yourself.

“I am very pleased that the inhabitants of Bergün have the happiness of all people at heart. That makes me very proud.”

Some have questioned whether it’s from the heart or simply a publicity stunt. Although it is a real law, voted for by the town council, the village’s director of tourism, Marc-Andrea Barandun, admitted that the measure is partly a marketing ploy.

“In the background of course the idea is that everyone is talking about Bergün,” he told The Local. “So it’s a combination of both – we made the law and also there’s some marketing [aim] behind it.”

He added that it’s unlikely the fine will actually be imposed on anyone, and that there is more about the ban that will be revealed later this week.

Barandun added: “The whole story is not finished yet. By Friday evening everyone will know what the idea was behind this law. It’s a surprise.”

The tourist office has removed photos of the village from its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and has declared its intention to remove them from the Bergün website too.

The “ban” has had a mixed reception on social media. Some approved of the campaign, with one man writing: “Strong PR action!”, while another comments, “Cool action and cool town meeting! It shows bravery and a great sense of humour!”

However, not everyone is a fan. One woman writes on Facebook: “Totally bad PR! This will put off your potential guests, attract angry reactions and make you look ridiculous... Bergün; I'm disappointed.” Others compared the ban to North Korea.

Bergün’s tourist board responded on social media: “Publicising how beautiful our village is needs to be done in bold ways.”

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