Saint Corona name vexes Austrian tourist village

Vienna (AFP) –


The Austrian village of Sankt Corona am Wechsel may need to rethink its tourism campaign, its mayor said Monday after the new coronavirus pandemic has drawn some unwanted attention.

"At first we smiled to see a virus named like the village appear, but jokes have stopped since the epidemic became so serious," said mayor Michael Gruber.

Ecotourism is the main source of revenue for the village of some 400 people lying some 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Vienna at the foot of the Alps.

"We'll probably have to find a new name for... our mascot to welcome tourists," Gruber told AFP.

The mascot, named "Corona", is an ant sporting traditional garb, featured on pamphlets and other information for tourists.

Attractions in the village named after the Catholic saint Corona include summer sledding and mountain biking.

Austria has recorded more than 3,900 cases of the new coronavirus so far, with 21 deaths.

The country of some nine million people has passed strict measures to limit movements to fight the spread of the virus.