Wed Dec 13 01:00:00 CET 2017

Feijóo wants to keep breaking records for the number of pilgrims while also improving their experience in Galicia

  • He says that the Way once again being able to demonstrate this year that it has no limit is due to planning, diversification and, above all, to the whole of Galicia considering as a priority the need to take care of an asset that is part of our identity.
  • He believes that if we take advantage of the experience gained over these years, the figure of 400,000 annual pilgrims may become a reality in the future.
  • Remember that the development of the Jacobean route is the result of a coordinated strategy that began with the Xacobeo Plan in 1993 and continues today with the master plan, which aims to make the Holy Year 2021 historic.
  • He says that the main challenges for the Government in the future are to advance with the development of the routes, improve promotion and also prepare the Xacobeo at the organisational level with the upcoming launch of the Interdepartmental Committee

Santiago de Compostela, 13 December 2017

The President of the Government, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, today said that he wants to continue breaking records for the number of pilgrims while also working on improving their experience when they arrive in our region. He believes that the Way of St. James can demonstrate once again this year that there is no limit when it comes to numbers, due to planning, diversification and, above all, to the whole of Galicia considering as a priority the need to take care of an asset that is part of our identity.

This was the message from the head of the Galician Government in the presentation of the award for being pilgrim number 300,000 to a young American. The President of the Government, who was accompanied by the Director of Tourism of Galicia, Nava Castro, and by the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Julián Barrio, stressed that this was the first time the figure of 300,000 pilgrims in Galicia in a single year had been reached. He also outlined his belief that if we take advantage of the experience gained over these years, the figure of 400,000 annual pilgrims may become a reality in the future.

The planning and diversification of the Way

For the head of the Galician Government, the Way is a route that looks toward the future, but that has its roots firmly embedded in the past. So, the achievements to date are down to there being people who believed, at the end of the 20th century, that the Way of St. James could succeed in the new millennium.

With regard to this, Feijóo said that the year 1993 was a turning point thanks to the commitment of the Government adopted by all of Galicia and by the different public institutions. He added that it was a year in which history was made thanks to the celebration of the first great Xacobeo and the declaration of the Way as World Heritage.

As the leader of the region emphasised, the development of the Jacobean route is the result of a coordinated strategy that began with the Xacobeo Plan in 1993 and continues today with the master plan, launched in 2015 to work with the horizon of 2021 and which aims to make the holy year 2021 historic.

Therefore, more than 50% of the actions established are already underway over three years before the Holy Door opens. These initiatives are designed to improve the conservation of the Ways and their natural and cultural heritage; extend the benefits of the Way to other municipalities with a long Jacobean tradition; raise awareness about the Jacobean route outside Spain, something that has helped ensure that today 56% of the pilgrims are foreign, coming from about 180 different countries; and, above all, diversify and remove the seasonal nature of the Way.

As far as the diversification of the Way is concerned, Feijóo pointed out that the Government is doing everything possible to ensure that the increase in the flow of pilgrims does not mean the saturation of the Ways, especially the French Way. In fact, this year the French Way accounted for no more than 60% of the 300,000 pilgrims, while other routes such as the Portuguese Way and the Original and North Ways gained in popularity.

The challenges of the future

Moreover, the head of the Galician Government explained that there are three main challenges that the Government has on the horizon with regard to the Way: to advance with the development of the routes, improve promotion and also prepare for Xacobeo 2121 at the organisational level with the upcoming launch of the Interdepartmental Committee.