- Román Rodríguez visited the facilities of this space of the Xacobeo Public Network which, for the last twenty years, has been managed by the Association of Friends of the Portuguese Way
- He underlined the important commitment of the Galician Government for the Way in Pontevedra, which for the first time will have a maintenance contract of 1.3 million euros
- The Regional Minister of Culture and Tourism highlighted the successful model of coexistence of traditional hospitality with the most revolutionary private initiative
Pontevedra, 26 February 2019
The Regional Minister of Culture and Tourism, Román Rodríguez, today announced the extension of the pilgrims' hostel in Pontevedra to respond to the needs expressed by the Association of Friends of the Portuguese Way, which for two decades has been attending this space integrated into the Xacobeo Public Network.
Román Rodríguez, accompanied by the territorial delegate of the Regional Government in Pontevedra, José Manuel Cores Tourís, visited the facilities of the city hostel, where he held a meeting with the members of this association, headed by its president, Tino Lores, with the aim of getting to know their concerns and proposals and expanding the lines of cooperation maintained. The head of Culture and Tourism visited the various facilities, including the space where new beds and bunks will be made available to meet the growing demand of pilgrims, especially in times of greater influx.
With this increased capacity, the hostel in Pontevedra will become the largest in the Portuguese Way, a route where the regional government has ten public establishments that keep alive the tradition of Jacobean hospitality. At this moment, the project for the construction of a new hostel is also underway, in this case in the coastal variant of the Portuguese Way in the city of Vigo, which will be located in its old quarter and will be fully operational in view of the celebration of the Holy Year.
Looking ahead to Xacobeo 21, Román Rodríguez underlined the important investment that the Regional Government is making in the Way of St. James in the province of Pontevedra, with a budget of 6.5 million euros that includes signposting and improvement of both routes, ensuring the safety of pilgrims, performances in different monuments declared Heritage of Cultural Interest (BIC), improvements in hostels, collaboration agreements with Civil Protection, revitalisation programmes and promotional or informative exhibitions, among others.
The largest conservation operation
In order to give continuity to the work already developed, Román Rodríguez announced that the Regional Government will tender a maintenance contract for each one of the official routes. It is, as the Regional Minister explained, the most ambitious conservation operation promoted by the Regional Government in the Ways of St. James. In particular, the Portuguese Way and the Portuguese Coastal Way will have an investment of almost 1.3 million euros.
In this way, the important work already done is extended, giving continuity and consolidating the improvements achieved. The new contract will provide for permanent control actions to detect the different existing needs. It will address their common conservation as well as possible incidents or occasional damage arising from external factors. It therefore includes supervision operations, corrective operations, scheduled and occasional operations, monitoring and control, regulatory systematic operations, preventive or cleaning tasks and mowing.
Román Rodríguez, who took advantage of his visit to place a camellia in the garden of the hostel for its connection with this Jacobean itinerary, congratulated the association for its work throughout these two decades. In this sense, he recalled the importance of the associative movement around the Way of St. James around the world, through the altruistic work of more than 300 collectives that update every day the values associated with the pilgrimage.
Socio-economic return to the municipalities
He also stressed the importance of the Jacobean Route contributing to the development of the municipalities through which it passes, thus making compatible the maintenance of a public network of hostels with the private initiative, promoting a socio-economic return in local populations. This is a consolidated model in areas such as the French Way and that, as pointed out by the Regional Minister, has potential for development in other routes as part of the strategy of diversification of flows. Román Rodríguez referred to the new MAT Plan for improving tourist accommodation, with which the Regional Government is encouraging the creation and modernisation of accommodation establishments, including those on the Way of St. James.
The Portuguese Way and the Portuguese Coastal Way received 25% of the total number of pilgrims in 2018, with an increase of 14.5% and 89%, respectively. The second of them was officially recognised thanks to the Cultural Heritage Law approved, on the initiative of the Regional Government, in 2016. In addition, the Galician Government is collaborating with the Portuguese authorities in the field of pilgrimage, both in projects of European programmes and in the implementation of the recently approved decree-law that will regulate the Way of St. James in Portugal.