That those responsible for the promotion of Dorset's once-popular seaside resorts should be nervous at a time of virus-induced crisis is wholly understandable. That they are anxious not to second guess the public mood as Joe Holidaymaker - blinking in the harsh light of possible release from house-arrest - surveys the post-apocalyptic landscape and wonders tentatively whether to stray from home - is again to be acknowledged and accepted. But does spending £2million on a campaign of promotion and reassurance make sense when the whole industry is now thought to be worth less than £750 per annum?
Leisure market expert and local seaside resort observer Bea Choliday believes it's probably the right move but that it comes with a significant - and possibly uncalibrated - risk to those involved. "It's probably the right move" she says, "but it comes with a significant - and possibly uncalibrated - risk to those involved".
According to local surveys, such has been the success of the RDC in lowering self-confidence and promoting socially-distanced agoraphobia that only 3 in 25 people are looking forward to being released from home, whilst only 1 in 25 is "feeling chipper about it". Though more than 80% of those asked think they might venture out at some point during 2021 [possibly to see if The Rose and Crown is still open] less than 5% are even contemplating visiting a resort this side of 2028. Faced with such dispiriting statistics, it is no surprise that the DH&RA [the "&" is crucial - distinguishing the Dorset Hotels and Resorts Association from the world famous Dorset Historical Romance Association] should be considering its options.
Even so no-one expected them to commit large sums of borrowed capital to an ambitious re-opening campaign nor that they would commission famed commercial artist Ikan Sellum to head up their poster initiative. Famous for his contribution to the herculean effort to turn round the fortunes of Threadneedle, after the troubled home knitting brand promoter had printed a series faulty patterns [cast on, knit three, purl two, knit four had, inexplicably, been rendered cast on, knit three, purl four, knit three], he is widely credited with bringing the business even closer to its knees and creating more than 12 redundancies.
Members of the DH&RA's inner sanctum will be hoping for the best but fearing the worst then, as we sleepwalk towards so-called "normality" - once defined even in the Dorset resorts' far-distant heyday as "the delights of a soggy burger and a dripping sou'wester in a puke-ridden shelter".