17 March 2010



The Way of Saint James as a tourist attraction resource

Mr. Juan R. Corpas Mauleón.
Regional Minister for Culture and Tourism. Government of Navarre

"El Camino de Santiago como resource turístico", is the degree scroll of the lecture given by the Regional Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Government of Navarre, Juan Ramón Corpas Mauleón, within the Cycle "El Camino de Santiago y las raíces de Occidente", organised by the Chair de Patrimonio, the City Council of Pamplona and the association de Amigos del Camino de Santiago. The Councillor was introduced by Ricardo Fernández Gracia, Professor of Art at the University of Navarre.
Juan Ramón Corpas referred to the Age average, as a period in which there are no records data of pilgrims, but there were institutions set up to receive them. The period of greatest flourishing was between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, when it began to decline after the finding of new worlds. Among the first data on pilgrims collected in Roncesvalles in the eighteenth century, Juan Ramón Corpas noted that there was talk of between 20,000 and 30,000 rations. The decline of the Camino took place in the 19th century to such an extent that the word pilgrim became an adjective equivalent to strange, extravagant...

Along with this, Corpas stressed that the Camino de Santiago has been built to the human measure and the walker, so that there are no more than 100 kilometres between large towns, and in the middle of them, other smaller ones that offer services. On the Camino, he added, there is a major event, the arrival of Pope John Paul II in Santiago. He also highlighted, together with the presence of the Catholic Church, the work of the Associations of Friends of the Way of St. James, and had a special accredited specialization for the Association of Estella, the oldest in Navarre, and the association of Friends of the leave Navarra, both created in 1962.

The Councillor stated that the Camino is a consolidated tourist product and an economic engine and energiser of the places through which it passes, it is a path of wealth and contributes to the growth of businesses. Pilgrims usually travel the Camino in a month and stay mainly in hostels, campsites, hotels and flats. Hostels are preferred by pilgrims over the age of 50. 75% of pilgrims who travel through Navarre are foreigners, compared to 25% of Spaniards.

Pilgrims, said Corpas, not only walk the Camino, but also stay, consume goods and generate wealth. Although the average pilgrim expense is 36 euros per day, compared to 100 or 115 euros of non-pilgrims, they are prescribers of the destination, ie, attract new tourists.

The Government of Navarre and various institutions, on the occasion of the Holy Year, are carrying out a series of specific actions, included in the Operational Plan with activities to promote tourism products and a cultural plan. An Interdepartmental Plan for the Pilgrim's Way is also being developed. The total investment of the Government of Navarre in the Way this year is 10 million euros, he added.

In the last decade, the number of establishments has risen from 198 to 696. More than 3,000 jobs have been created work in the last decade, and the Councillor for Culture and Tourism stressed that there have been no closures of businesses.

Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles

Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles