Book­ish beaches

The Guardian - Review - - Forewords - Katy Guest

Visit Dorset is al­ready op­ti­mistic about a tourism boost prompted by the film of Ian McE­wan’s On Ch­e­sil Beach, re­leased on Fri­day. It stars Saoirse Ro­nan and Billy Howle as a young cou­ple whose mar­riage falls apart while they stay in Dorset for their hon­ey­moon. “Whilst the themes of the film are cer­tainly som­bre,” says the web­site, “the cin­e­matic views … will un­doubt­edly in­spire many visi­tors.” Dorset should be care­ful what it wishes for. This year, Thai au­thor­i­ties an­nounced that Maya Bay, the fa­mous la­goon in the film of Alex Gar­land’s The Beach, will be closed in low sea­son so its reefs can re­cover from tourist ac­tiv­ity. And last sum­mer, the mayor of Dubrovnik capped vis­i­tor num­bers af­ter Game of Thrones tourists threat­ened Dubrovnik’s Unesco world her­itage sta­tus.

Per­haps Dorset should learn from Corn­wall, where it is said that 14% of re­cent visi­tors have been drawn by the TV se­ries of the Poldark nov­els, though they are not hav­ing a pre­dictable ef­fect on lo­cal trade. “To be hon­est,” said Vic­to­ria Nor­ris, owner of the Tall Ships Cream­ery in Charlestown, “peo­ple seem to come down for the day, they set up camp ... and then they lit­er­ally do not move, they are stuck in that po­si­tion be­cause they are wor­ried they are go­ing to miss Ai­dan Turner.”

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