Picturesque Swiss village bans photography by tourists

A remote village in Switzerland is taking a unique approach to tackling the worldwide epidemic of FOMO — fear of missing out — by “banning” photography by tourists in the town, according to The Local.

The Swiss commune of Bergun/Bravuogn — not far from the popular vacation locale of St. Moritz — voted to implement a ban on tourists taking photos of its picturesque natural beauty on Monday. Anyone seen taking a photo will be hit with a “symbolic” fine of $5, per The Local.

bergun switzerland swiss photography
This photo could cost you $5. Photo: Courtesy of Stefan ‘Stoipi’ Seger/Flickr

“It is scientifically proven that beautiful holiday photos on social media make the viewer unhappy because they cannot be there themselves,” the village’s tourism said in a statement translated by The Local.

“Bergun/Bravuogn is beautiful. 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 Bergun to experience it for yourself,” mayor Peter Nicolay added. “I am very pleased that the inhabitants of Bergun have the happiness of all people at heart. That makes me very proud.”

The statement also said that any money collected on fines would go to protecting the local environment.

Following the vote on Monday, as reported by The Independent, Bergun/Bravuogn had scrubbed all photos of the resort village from its official Facebook page (they’ve since been re-uploaded). When news of the ban spread, the village’s Facebook page received comments from some users who didn’t seem to approve of the ban.

But those angry comments were misplaced as the town’s tourism director, Marc-Andrea Barandun, admitted to The Local on Wednesday that while the law is real and was indeed voted for by the town council, it is unlikely anyone would ever be fined for taking photos and that the vote was a bit of a marketing ploy.

“In the background of course the idea is that everyone talks about Bergun,” Marc-Andrea Barandun told The Local. “So it’s a combination of both — we made the law and also there’s some marketing [aim] behind it.”

He said the threatened fine is unlikely to be actually imposed on anyone.

Still, given some of the negative reaction to the “ban,” Nicolay released a tongue-in-cheek video Thursday on the village’s Facebook page saying that, until the ban is lifted, those interested in photographing Bergun/Bravuogn gorgeous scenery will be given a “friendly special permit” to do so.

Read more about how to improve your photography game

Simple tips for better landscape photography

How to take better action shots from a pro