Even in years as complicated to do the Jacobean route as the last two due to the pandemic situation, the Camino de Santiago was consolidated as a fundamental factor for the economic development and, above all, tourism, of the Community. Melchor Fernández, from the research group of the University of Santiago de Compostela GAME-Idega, presented his study on the economic impact of pilgrimage in Galicia at the Fairway Santiago 2021 congress. The data only confirms that the Camino is a very important tourist engine.
Thus, this study concludes that each pilgrim who arrived at the Plaza del Obradoiro was the same economic impact as 2.3 tourists conventional. In fact, although the pilgrims do not spend much on transportation, they do spend much on eating and drinking: 61% of your spending is focused on it, while in the case of tourists it is only 26%. In addition, the pilgrims prefer to consume local products, enriching the areas through which they pass.
Specifically, the different routes pass through municipalities with little tourist concurrence apart from the Camino, and the impact that this entails is beneficial for the development of local economies. The vast majority of the residents of these municipalities —the study collects surveys in Melide or Pedrafita do Cebreiro— receive «positive Camino impacts»At an economic level, as more possibilities of employment or income.
When it comes to promoting tourism, it should not be done at any price. It is easy to promote unsustainable and environmentally damaging development. However, this does not seem to be the case on the Camino de Santiago. The surveys of the study led by Professor Fernández conclude that it is perceived as an asset when it comes to preserving the landscape and helps the population centers of the different councils to be cleaner and more cared for.
On the other hand, the role of the pilgrim as a tourist element is not limited only to when he does the Camino: the study indicates that oCho out of every ten who make any of the various routes will return to the Community as tourists, returning to consume and assuming, once again, a positive impact for the Galician economy.
All of this contributes to a very positive pilgrim experience: in fact, almost 100% of them recommend do it to their friends or family, and 36 out of 100 do it again.