Mountain village lifts photography ban after media storm
Just two days after announcing a ban on visitors taking photographs, the commune of Bergün/Bravuogn says it will after all allow pictures of the village to be taken.
The u-turn comes after the story went viral, bringing the Graubünden village global – and apparently sought-after – attention.
At the municipal assembly on Monday villagers voted to bring in a local law banning photography and imposing a symbolic five-franc fine on anyone contravening it.
Their thinking was that the village, situated near St Moritz, was so beautiful that people seeing photos of it on social media would feel miserable because they weren't there themselves.
But in a statement on Thursday, the commune said it was granting “special permission” to all visitors to take pictures without running the risk of a fine.
And it made clear that the ban had been a public relations coup.
“The commune never thought this initiative would generate so much media interest,” it quoted mayor Peter Nicolay as saying. “It seems there is huge interest in Bergün.”
“Our village is now world-famous for its beauty. Millions of people around the world now know Bergün,” Nicolay said in a video message.
The mayor added that at its next meeting the municipal assembly would lift the ban altogether.
The Graubünden tourist office said it was “overwhelmed by the success” of the initiative. The number of Google searches of the village had increased seven-fold in one day.
Not everyone saw the humour in the tongue-in-cheek PR initiative. A poll of 2,000 readers by 20 Minuten found 81 percent considered the photo ban “a cheek”.
The paper reported that a group of 12 German tourists had decided to cancel their planned visit to Bergün in the autumn as a result of the photo ban.