Why this Swiss Town Just Banned Photography

Bergün  | © Deutsch
Bergün | © Deutsch
Photo of Nikki Vargas
Travel Editor5 June 2017

The quaint town of Bergün—a ski resort hotspot in Switzerland’s canton of Graubünden—may have just become the ultimate destination for a digital detox.

According to Country Living, Bergün’s local council voted recently to implement a town-wide photography ban in an effort to keep their picturesque streets off social media.

While most tourism boards are leveraging social media as a tool to promote their offerings and attract new visitors, Bergün issued a statement that acknowledges the adverse effects travel Instagram shots can have on people back home.

“From today on, a community-wide photographing ban comes into effect in Bergün,” writes the resort town in a statement. “It is scientifically proven that beautiful vacation photos on social media make the viewers unhappy, because they themselves can not be on the spot.”

If visitors are caught snapping photos of Bergün, they will be issued a small fine of 5CHF (£4) fine. According to The Telegraph, the news of the photography ban was enough to force one group to cancel its upcoming trip in autumn.

With its enviable panoramas, unsullied nature and pristine ski trails, Bergün is a photographer’s dream. While town recalls the flower speckled mountains of The Sounds of Music, the new ban has gone so far as to remove images from the resort’s website and Facebook page, leaving its beauty up to the imagination.

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

While Bergün’s photography ban may be unusual, it does inspire travelers to put down their smartphones, cameras and simply enjoy the moment at hand. Rather than fumble with Instagram filters or witty captions, Bergün may have just tapped into the rising digital detox trend.

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