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.”