- The improvements will be made in Arzúa, Melide, Monterroso, Palas de Rei, Paradela, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, O Pino, Portomarín, Samos, Sarria and Triacastela
- These municipalities will also become part of the Association of French Route Municipalities, in order to encourage municipal cooperation and facilitate the joint implementation of projects of mutual interest around the Camino
Santiago, 11 April 2017
A co-operation agreement was signed by Turismo de Galicia Director Nava Castro and the mayors of the Galician municipalities on the French Route today. Under this agreement, the Xunta de Galicia will contribute more than 1 million euros towards the conservation, promotion and maintenance of this route, as well as to encourage cooperation among all of the municipalities in Galicia along this pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
As Nava Castro stated at the signing, this is a multi-year agreement for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. It includes actions in the municipalities of Arzúa, Melide, Monterroso, Palas de Rei, Paradela, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, O Pino, Portomarín, Samos, Sarria and Triacastela.
‘Through the actions in the agreement, this investment will make it possible for the French Route to provide the optimum conditions for the thousands of pilgrims who chose this path to Compostela each year. And it will also help to continue bringing value and quality to the pilgrimage experience in our community,’ asserted Nava Castro.
Those in attendance were reminded that Galicia received a total of 277,854 pilgrims last year – a record number which exceeds the figure for the most recent Xacobeo (Holy Year) in 2010 – and that of those, 63% chose the French Route. The head of Turismo de la Xunta pointed out that this is a key factor making it among the routes which require a greater degree of protection, as well as ongoing services for pilgrims.
Extending a better welcome to pilgrims
With regard to the agreement signed today, Nava Castro indicated that it includes various courses of action, highlighting infrastructure and property improvements on the French Route in order to offer pilgrims a better welcome. This includes urgent conservation and recovery work, improvement works on the Camino and in the surrounding area, and setting up and fitting out rest areas, among other things.
Turismo de Galicia will also assist with costs incurred by these municipalities for pilgrim services, such as public lighting and rubbish collection, as well as promotional activities and the development of cultural and tourist activities.
The head of the tourism arm of the Xunta also mentioned the importance of this agreement for ensuring ‘ongoing and specific’ services and information for pilgrims along the entire French Route and its destination in Santiago de Compostela. In this area, the municipalities have agreed to hire staff trained in tourism and knowledgeable about the Way of St. James between the months of April and October. They must also make every effort to keep the information about the Camino and the destination of the pilgrimage route provided on the municipality websites up-to-date.
The Way of St. James, historic symbol of European unity
One new aspect mentioned by Nava Castro – part of an effort to highlight the role of the Way of St. James as one of the historic symbols of European unity – Turismo de Galicia will include these municipalities in the Association of French Route Municipalities, a national not-for-profit organization whose main aims include establishing a cooperative relationship among all of its members.
‘This will be an important opportunity to use all of our resources to promote and facilitate the joint implementation of projects of mutual interest around the Way of St. James, to encourage contact between Friends of the Way of St. James associations, and to allow the different government bodies to collaborate on protecting and promoting the Way of St. James,’ stated Nava Castro.
The head of the tourism arm of the Xunta described the agreement as ‘reinforcing the Xunta’s commitment’ and highlighting ‘our duty to preserve this important legacy’. A hand was also extended to the municipalities so that they might ‘continue working together and ensure that the Camino remains an important focus of attraction for citizens from around the world and functions as an economic stimulus for the municipalities along the route,’ she concluded.