Austria village churches hire bouncers to block tourists
A picturesque Austrian village has brought in "bouncers" at its churches in order to stop tourists disturbing services, it's reported.
Visitors from all over the world flock to the lakeside village of Hallstatt, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and it's particularly popular with tour groups from Asia. But some have been riling the locals with their eagerness to document church proceedings, even whipping out cameras and selfie sticks during funerals and photographing the mourners, the Heute website reports.
In response, the village's two churches have started to lock their doors before services begin or put someone at the entrance to block tourists. "Bouncers" are also posted to the local cemetery during funerals, the meinBezirk news portal says. Church leaders stress that visitors are still welcome at other times.
Parish council head Reinhard Kerschbaumer adds a touch of self-criticism when explaining the problem. "We should sometimes show more moral courage and have the heart to do something and not just grumble after the fact," he tells meinBezirk, adding that the tourist barrier might then not be needed.
Hallstatt's appeal is far-reaching: in 2012, a replica of the village was unveiled in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Mayor Alexander Scheutz overcame initial misgivings to fly to China for the opening ceremony, telling the BBC that locals found it amusing that their little village was "important enough to get a copy".
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