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61% increase in pilgrim numbers during Holy Week

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
There is still a definite bubble working it’s way through the Camino Frances, most likely caused by Semana Santa and the opening of the Napoleon route. A few days ago, all albergues in the Zubiri area were full, followed by Pamplona this past Easter weekend. We started in SJPdP on Friday and have seen vacancies there as well as subsequent stops (Orisson, Roncevalles, and Zubiri).

Just remember: speeding up or slowing down can really make a difference.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Yup! This is the formal kickoff to the 2019 pilgrimage season. It happens every year.
The story is that there has been a 61% increase over the numbers recorded in Holy Week last year. Are you saying that every Holy Week is that much bigger than the preceding year's?
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
To my math it is not even close to 61% increase compared with 2017 when the easter date was almost as late as this year. March is still early and cold, so it attracts less pilgrims
Check the numbers yourself:
2016
24.3. 944
25.3. 1188 Friday
26.3 1282 Sa
27.3 1074 Su

2017
13.4 1757 Thursday
14.4 1956 Friday
15.4 1874 Saturday
16.4 1576 Sunday

2018
29.3 1212
30.3 1418 Fr
31.3 1372
1.4 1142 Sunday

2019
18.4 1882 Thursday
19.4 2289
20.4 2107
21.4 1828 Sunday
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
To my math it is not even close to 61% increase compared with 2017 when the easter date was almost as late as this year. March is still early and cold, so it attracts less pilgrims. Check the numbers yourself:
Excellent! I was curious about the numbers for the individual days.

Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows) is the Friday before Palm Sunday, so they achieve the stunning increase of 61% by comparing the periods 23 March - 1 April 2018 and 12 April - 21 April 2019. Apples and oranges.

If one compares the totals of the two Easter weekends (Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday) for 2017 and 2019 when Easter fell into the second half of April, taking the daily figures from your list, then it's less awe inspiring: a yearly increase of about 6% or 7%, which is quite in line with the overall annual increase in recent years.

At least that's what I got when I followed your advice and checked the numbers myself. 😎
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The number comparison is correct as challenged. BUT. I think we can all agree that the 2019 season is off to a roaring start.

All of you lot who stepped up and volunteered to work at the Pilgrim Office this season are going to get a treat...lots, and lots of pilgrims... THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING!

Being busy makes your daily work shift go very fast... being VERY busy makes that first cold beer or vino blanco taste oh so sweet...
 

Chris Gi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago. 2020 May or end of September.
Yup! This is the formal kickoff to the 2019 pilgrimage season. It happens every year.

I arrive on 4 May to volunteer at the Pilgrim Office from 6-20 May. Already packed...
Thank you always for doing that. I assume that it is a very interesting and worthwhile experience. I bet you have a few good stories to tell each year.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The story is that there has been a 61% increase over the numbers recorded in Holy Week last year. Are you saying that every Holy Week is that much bigger than the preceding year's?
It appears that each year has a larger volume than the previous year. This progression has been occurring since around 2005 or so. Each Holy Year, per se, usually has a HUGE increase over the previous non-Holy Year.

Within these increases, I believe, but do not have the facts in front of me, that Semana Santa and Easter Week volumes are larger each year as well. I am NOT suggesting a 61% increase.

We are seeing a snowballing effect on the Camino. As it is more advertised, featured in reports, books, and films, the popularity and curiosity spreads. Each year, it gets bigger and bigger.

Last year, we saw more than 300,000 pilgrims (the folks who were received and recorded at the Pilgrim Office). This DOES NOT include the solo sello folks or those who choose not to approach the Pilgrim Office for any reason. These latter categories are simply not counted.

My estimate, based on known historical facts, is that the Holy Year 2021 annual volume will likely exceed 600,000 pilgrims and may well hit 650,000. In fact, I am am intentionally NOT planning on walking that year. I plan to instead offer my services for two separate months as a volunteer because they will need the extra help to address the coming wave.

The Cathedral authorities and Pilgrim Office management are working to try to get ready for the coming surge in pilgrims. That is why the renovations are underway NOW.

It is also why the renovations at the Pilgrim Office are still being addressed. There is added processing and reception space for pilgrims being developed at the rear of the building, in the garden. The current processing scheme is merely an interim solution, until the added space is finished. When done, the process and queues will change, but will be at the same address.

Hope this helps.
 
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Rhysmike

Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to Santiago (Apr to June 2014); St. Jean to Finisterre (Apr to May 2016); Via Francigena - Lausanne to Rome (Sep to October 2016)
There is still a definite bubble working it’s way through the Camino Frances, most likely caused by Semana Santa and the opening of the Napoleon route. A few days ago, all albergues in the Zubiri area were full, followed by Pamplona this past Easter weekend. We started in SJPdP on Friday and have seen vacancies there as well as subsequent stops (Orisson, Roncevalles, and Zubiri).

Just remember: speeding up or slowing down can really make a difference.
Do you anticipate a May Day bubble given that Easter was so late?
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I'm curious to see the total figure of Compostelas given out for the whole of April 2019 and how much of a song and dance they are going to make about it.

If you take the figure for April 2017 as a basis - 27,000 - when Easter was roughly during the same week in April as this year and apply an annual growth rate of 8% to it, you'd expect to see a total in the region of 32,000 for April 2019.

If however you compare the figure for April 2019 with the figure of April 2018 - 22,000 - when Easter was at the end of March, you'll get again a seemingly tremendous increase such as 45% or higher.
 

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