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821,478€ paid for beds in Galician albergues this year.


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By 30th September Pilgrims staying overnight in the 61 albergues in Galicia paid the Xunta 821,478€. This money will be used for maintenance of the facilities and could treble by 2010 if the success of the last Holy Year is repeated. So far this year the government recorded 265,885 beds used in overnight shelters. In the last Holy Year the bed occupancy on all the caminos was almost 800 000.

When a 3€ fee was introduced last year, the media criticized the Government's decision to charge pilgrims for a stay in the shelters. The argument was that introducing a small charge would solve the overcrowding and the endless queues at the doors of this type of accommodation. However, there were also complaints from the trade sector which saw the shelters as a form of unfair competition.

El Camino de Santiago continues to be a secure value for tourism in Galicia in times of economic crisis. Until last September the number of pilgrims in Galicia grew almost 10% an upward trend that has failed to curb even the entry in force of the new levy in the shelters of the Xunta. And the Camino remains one of the cheapest ways to travel.
According to a study by the Association of Chambers of the Ways Xacobeo, a pilgrim spends on average 26 euros a day excluding the new rate for overnight stay. The new rate has helped defray the costs of maintaining and expanding the network of public shelters. This is the main motivation of the Xunta which hopes to spend the money invested to improve its existing services and expand the network of accommodation for pilgrims.
This goal is a priority above all by the proximity of Xacobeo 2010 that will test the ability of the Xunta to absorb the expected flood of pilgrims. The last Holy Year in fact exceeded all expectations and forced them to seek the cooperation of municipalities and the Army to accommodate 180,000 people who walked the Camino in 2004
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