If you have scrolled through your Instagram feed lately then you likely know what holiday envy is. Whether it is people sharing pictures from holidays from before the coronavirus pandemic or others managing to see some of the beauty close to their home, we are still seeing lots of beautiful nature on our feed at the moment. That’s a great thing, I would much rather see stunning nature than another selfie of someone sitting at home in their pajamas. This is why it is rather strange to see a Swiss town ban anyone from taking photos of their picturesque place.
The town of Bergun in Switzerland recently declared that it was no longer allowed for tourists to take pictures of the beautiful spot and post on their Instagram. This decision has gone viral and caused a lot of confusion around the world. At a time when every tourism board in the world is desperately trying to make their location the most trending image on social media, Bergun appears to be doing the opposite.
The town has explained their decision and says that they are doing it as a move against holiday envy something that is a real issue on social media. Depression rates have increased in recent years and social media is being seen as a leading cause. People project their false perfect lives onto social media and onlookers can’t help but envy that life. While these people likely still only go on one nice trip in the whole year they can have a way of making it look like they never work and are always on the road. It can be depressing.
The town of Bergun says that its little slice of heaven will not add to that issue. Anyone who comes to the town can, of course, enjoy it but they are asked not to take pictures of the place. If you really need a photo then you can apply for a special exception that may be granted.
The sinister side of me thinks that this is just a publicity stunt, that Begun knows how human nature works and that if they tell everyone that their town is so beautiful that it will cause depression if pictures are shared of it, it will only want people to go there more. Bergun may also be picking up on a growing trend of anti-Instagram. There are many people now who are increasingly sick of going places just to find the right photo to show others that they were there and this it was incredible. Before social media and the internet, people did often just visit places for the beauty and didn’t feel the need to share the image with anyone.
As the old saying goes “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is now on par with “if someone visits a beautiful place and doesn’t upload a picture of it to their social media, were they even there”? This philosophical quandary of observation and perception is easily solved. Yes, the tree makes a sound and yes you still went to a beautiful place. The tree doesn’t need you to hear it and you don’t need others to see that you have been somewhere amazing.
Whether Bergun is taking a stand and highlighting the need for people to step away from social media or using the idea as a fantastic marketing strategy is unclear. What is clear though is that Bergun is actually a beautiful place and if you do get the chance to visit this beautiful Swiss town you should. However, the fact that you don’t need to talk about it on social media may be an even more beautiful thing.