Guernsey Press

Sark hopes JK Rowling magic will rub off

Author JK Rowling’s weekend visit to Sark and subsequent tweets could lead to an influx of visitors to the island this year, but there is no sign of a rush to book just yet.

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JK Rowling confirmed on X, formerly Twitter, that a few chapters of the next book in her Strike series will be set in Sark. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33080114)

While Sark Silver Studio, where Ms Rowling bought a bracelet, has reported a good response to the author’s tweets of her purchase, Sark Shipping’s managing director Yan Milner said that he had not seen any increase in interest.

‘But any publicity is positive and TV programmes and books always attract interest,’ he said. ‘Like Jersey and their detective programme.’

Interest in the Occupation also led to visitors going to Sark, he said, but the number of visitors often depended on the weather.

‘Surprisingly, last year we had a reasonable season.

‘There are still some roadblocks in that most of our volume is reliant on visitors to Guernsey.

‘We’ve got our fingers crossed that Guernsey tourism recovers back to pre-pandemic levels. I’m not sure it has yet but we’ll continue to encourage any local travel that we can.’

He expected bookings to be busy around the Easter period and then again over the half-term and in the summer holidays.

‘I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed anything telephone-wise,’ said Stocks Hotel general manager Helen Wigmore of any rise in enquiries.

But the season generally was looking good. ‘Hopefully the sun will come out and that will increase it. Plus people are booking later.’

La Sablonnerie Hotel owner Elizabeth Perree was sure that Ms Rowling’s visit would have an impact.‘I think she probably chose Sark because it’s so special and unique and the scenery is so wonderful, especially during the spring time,’ she said.

‘Sark always attracts lots of interesting and lovely people.’

If the next Strike book does have scenes in the island she hoped it might lead to Sark appearing on screen again: ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had another super film made in Sark?

‘Those [Harry Potter] films are rather magical, and so is Sark.’

Tourism Committee deputy chairman Conseiller Paul Williams agreed that having another film crew going to the island would be ‘wonderful’. ‘I was heavily involved with carting when the Mr Pye crew came over,’ he said.

‘I think it [Ms Rowling’s visit] is going to be very positive for the island. And hopefully there will be a few more people coming to Guernsey who’ll be visiting us this year too.’