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A thought on pilgrim statistics

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#1
Only an idea that I was wondering about.

Many of us that walk caminos again and again don't bother collecting the compostela any more after arriving in Santiago. I haven't collected the last four that I was eligible for. We all know that the pilgrim statistics are not so accurate because of this, and I feel that these numbers of repeat offenders are only going to increase. For instance, on caminos like the Via de la Plata, which is a camino where most pilgrims have walked before (not many first timers), many of us not collecting a compostela means nobody really knows how this camino is populated year by year. I hear officially numbers have dropped this year on the Plata, but I doubt if this is the case. Same could be said for pilgrims starting on the Salvador or Primitivo for instance.

Why not have some simple and easy way for us to register at the pilgrim office in Santiago which does not take us an hour or more to queue for or take up much of the very busy staff their precious time? Maybe a guy at the entrance with a simple clipboard, we walk up, they check our credential and write down our starting point? Or something simpler? After all, I don't want or need another compostela, but would like to help with the statistics.

Maybe I'm just being daft. Sorry for rambling on!

Davey
 
Last edited:

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Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#2
Why not have some simple and easy way for us to register at the pilgrim office in Santiago which does not take us an hour or more to queue for or take up much of the very busy staff their precious time? Maybe a guy at the entrance with a simple clipboard, we walk up, they check our credential and write down our starting point? Or something simpler? After all, I don't want or need another compostela, would would like to help with the statistics.
Good idea, Davey. Whether the PO would or could actually do this is another matter.
It would be interesting to have a survey here on the Forum to see how many of us who have walked multiple caminos actually continue to get a compostela. I think (but am not sure) that you can edit your thread to include a survey. The question to ask might be is what's the ratio of the number of compostelas you've received as compared to the number of qualifying caminos you've walked.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#3
@Davey Boyd , great idea! It still wouldn't capture the 'stealth' pilgrims but, if the PO and therefore the Cathedral were interested , it would be a great way of re-qualifying the published stats. My only concern is that that would just generate a second enormous queue at the PO. "Compostella? On the left", "Registration? On the right."

Maybe it's a job for the Tourist Board or their ilk.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#4
I often do not get a Compostela.
There are other issues that greatly affect the statistics.
1. Those who don't bother with a Compostela for many reasons
2. Those who start somewhere and do not make it to Santiago but may walk for weeks. They are not counted but are out on the various caminos and in albergues, pensions and bars.
3. There is confusion by some who use the Pilgrim Office in SJPP stats to judge the numbers starting from there. Many (most?) do not go to the PO because they do not need anything from them or just don't know it exists.
 

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grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#6
@Davey Boyd , great idea! It still wouldn't capture the 'stealth' pilgrims but, if the PO and therefore the Cathedral were interested , it would be a great way of re-qualifying the published stats. My only concern is that that would just generate a second enormous queue at the PO. "Compostella? On the left", "Registration? On the right."

Maybe it's a job for the Tourist Board or their ilk.

I would anticipate that many people would do both..not realizing the purpose.
They would simply "register" as having fininished and then get a compostela.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#7
On a more serious note: in case of a guy at the entrance of the PO, numbers would still be dependant on an effort made by pilgrims. How about the other way around, by collecting numbers from albergues and the likes on a daily basis?
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#8
I think it's good idea because PO in SdC actually gather just the numbers for religious, religious/spiritual and cultural reasons (if I remember correctly). I believe there are many repeat offenders that do different Caminos for other reasons as well.

I think there was an idea couple of years ago to obtain a digital chip on the starting point and present it at the PO once you finished the (any) Camino. I don't fret being "monitored" on Camino because either way I'm recording my Wikiloc (so I am monitored already) GPS track but it would also speed up the procedure in PO and allow much more prompt and true stats.

But that can't be done trough this forum I'm afraid.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#9
@Davey Boyd , great idea! It still wouldn't capture the 'stealth' pilgrims but, if the PO and therefore the Cathedral were interested , it would be a great way of re-qualifying the published stats. My only concern is that that would just generate a second enormous queue at the PO. "Compostella? On the left", "Registration? On the right."

Maybe it's a job for the Tourist Board or their ilk.
Yes, the biggest problem I see is putting more strain on the PO. Though I guess for it to be accurate somebody has to check our credentials? Unless it was done on trust of course, then maybe it could be done online or something. Dunno.

Davey
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#10
How about the other way around, by collecting numbers from albergues and the likes on a daily basis?
Ah, back to the good old days. I remember checking in to a battered old Fonda nowhere near Merida sometime in the late '70's. I handed over my passport so that the register and the other necessary forms, collected each morning by the Guardia, could be completed. My passport was pushed back to me, unopened. "We are not open tonight" was the explanation before they gave me a key and showed me where the light switch and the toilet was.

Perhaps someone could just instal wicket-gates on all the paths into Santiago, with an adaption for bicigrinos of course, or get a bunch of those guys with the click-counters that do traffic surveys or maybe we could.... Oh well nth Camino coming up, nth-[n] compostellas probably not collected. But I will be litter-picking as usual so maybe that will provide another possible measure. More Pilgs = less litter?
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#11
I often do not get a Compostela.
There are other issues that greatly affect the statistics.
1. Those who don't bother with a Compostela for many reasons
2. Those who start somewhere and do not make it to Santiago but may walk for weeks. They are not counted but are out on the various caminos and in albergues, pensions and bars.
3. There is confusion by some who use the Pilgrim Office in SJPP stats to judge the numbers starting from there. Many (most?) do not go to the PO because they do not need anything from them or just don't know it exists.
1, Yes
2, Yes, but as far as I know they only collect figures arriving in Santiago and their start point. So lets say someone starts in Munich, walks two weeks a year, the eventual start point is Munich. This of course does not count people actually on the camino at any time.
3, Yes, but the data comes from your first sello/stamp? An albergue/hotel in SJPP will do. There is no office in Pamplona for instance.

But you are right though maybe it is too complicated to sort out, though 'registering' non compostela pilgrims must help somewhat? Maybe it is not do-able or too complicated

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#12
I hear officially numbers have dropped this year on the Plata, but I doubt if this is the case. Same could be said for pilgrims starting on the Salvador or Primitivo for instance.
Due to the new regulations of monitoring who is where at any point in time, every albergue, anywhere in Spain, has a record (presumably!), of how many stayed in any particular albergue on any particular night. That would surely give the statistics of how many were walking the Via de la Plata or the Primitivo or the ….

…. obviously there is no point in including the tourists who stay in hostels or hoteles, as we all know that true pilgrims don’t stay in those :eek::rolleyes::p.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#14
Due to the new regulations of monitoring who is where at any point in time, every albergue, anywhere in Spain, has a record (presumably!), of how many stayed in any particular albergue on any particular night. That would surely give the statistics of how many were walking the Via de la Plata or the Primitivo or the ….

…. obviously there is no point in including the tourists who stay in hostels or hoteles, as we all know that true pilgrims don’t stay in those:eek::rolleyes::p.
Mmmm, but it would be quite a feat (with cost presumably) collecting that data. And as you say (tongue in cheek, I think)! that would miss pilgrims not staying in albergues.

I was just thinking of accurate - ish startpoint data though.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#15
Due to the new regulations of monitoring who is where at any point in time, every albergue, anywhere in Spain, has a record (presumably!), of how many stayed in any particular albergue on any particular night. That would surely give the statistics of how many were walking the Via de la Plata or the Primitivo or the ….

…. obviously there is no point in including the tourists who stay in hostels or hoteles, as we all know that true pilgrims don’t stay in those:eek::rolleyes::p.
Oh yeah, plus, there are many pilgrims who don't sleep in albergues or hotels and freecamp the whole way. Well not MANY but I meet a small crowd every time I walk the Frances (I freecamp a lot), so a fair number per year.

Accomodation? For lightweights!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#17
Only an idea that I was wondering about.

Many of us that walk caminos again and again don't bother collecting the compostela any more after arriving in Santiago. I haven't collected the last four that I was eligible for. We all know that the pilgrim statistics are not so accurate because of this, and I feel that these numbers of repeat offenders are only going to increase. For instance, on caminos like the Via de la Plata, which is a camino where most pilgrims have walked before (not many first timers), many of us not collecting a compostela means nobody really knows how this camino is populated year by year. I hear officially numbers have dropped this year on the Plata, but I doubt if this is the case. Same could be said for pilgrims starting on the Salvador or Primitivo for instance.

Why not have some simple and easy way for us to register at the pilgrim office in Santiago which does not take us an hour or more to queue for or take up much of the very busy staff their precious time? Maybe a guy at the entrance with a simple clipboard, we walk up, they check our credential and write down our starting point? Or something simpler? After all, I don't want or need another compostela, but would like to help with the statistics.

Maybe I'm just being daft. Sorry for rambling on!

Davey
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#18
Due to the new regulations of monitoring who is where at any point in time, every albergue, anywhere in Spain, has a record (presumably!), of how many stayed in any particular albergue on any particular night. That would surely give the statistics of how many were walking the Via de la Plata or the Primitivo or the ….

…. obviously there is no point in including the tourists who stay in hostels or hoteles, as we all know that true pilgrims don’t stay in those:eek::rolleyes::p.
That's true but this info goes to Guardia Civil which obviously has no connection or passing over the info to PO in SdC.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#19
I like statistics as well as the next person, and am curious about these ones. However, I really can't think of a good reason to collect this information, as long as the facilities are not overburdened. Maybe it is more fun to keep the mystery and stealth - nobody really knows how many pilgrims are out there! :cool:
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#20
I like statistics as well as the next person, and am curious about these ones. However, I really can't think of a good reason to collect this information, as long as the facilities are not overburdened. Maybe it is more fun to keep the mystery and stealth - nobody really knows how many pilgrims are out there! :cool:
You know, I like your thinking!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#21
Ha ha! I didn't once have to show my passport on my first camino, now they won't check me in without it.
In Spain, I've always had to show my passport each and every time I checked in to all lodgings. I was prepared to show it in France on the Le Puy route, but was very surprised I was never asked to show it even once.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#22
In Spain, I've always had to show my passport each and every time I checked in to all lodgings. I was prepared to show it in France on the Le Puy route, but was very surprised I was never asked to show it even once.
Strange. Because in EU it is expected to have ID on you at all times. Passports in hotel vaults won't do ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#23
Statistics can be gotten by filling in an online survey. There could be a simple one and another for volunteers to use to gather more detailed information. A government tourist bureau might even put this up.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#24
I have tried, over several years, to get Pilgrim Office management interested in developing a smartphone app for pilgrim processing. Among other obvious potential benefits, this app could easily have a few simple questions on the front end...
  • Did you just complete a Camino (Yes / No)?
  • Which Route (pull down)?
  • Where did you start (pull down)?
  • What date did you start (pick pull box)?
Behind this, the phone operating system contributes the actual location (will not accept inputs outside of Santiago), as well as the current date and current time - the system only accepts the current date - no advance or retroactive submission possible.

Lastly...
  • Are you planning to apply for a Compostela (spiritual or religious purpose) or Certificate of Visitation (non-religious) (Yes / No).
If this is answered 'No', the person is directed where to go to obtain a stamp closing out their credencial for that pilgrimage. This COULD occur away from the main queue and processing area.

If answered 'Yes,' the person is directed to the Compostela queue at the Pilgrim Office. In the 'Yes' situation, the person could be prompted to add the rest of the information now handwritten on the Estadillo form that all pilgrims must complete to collect statistics on pilgrims being processed for a Compostela. This could be done while the pilgrim is waiting in the queue.

Behind the scene, as the person approaches the Pilgrim Office, this information could be read from the phone passively by readers at the entrances. Alternatively, the user could be asked to submit this data.

Submitting the data can be done by piggybacking on the phone's messaging app. The actual amount of data submitted is very small and would fit within a text message format. This effectively records all the stats. Internal programming, base on individual phone ID could rule out repeat entries or submissions.

This is not rocket science. But getting the Church to make ANY change usually occurs similar to the flow of a glacier... I am on it, but am cautiously pessimistic...

My sole hope is that, as the next Holy Year approaches in 2021, cooler heads prevail and some modernization in the process occurs and is tested in the next couple of years. I have a bevy of other, minor process related suggestions, that I plan to submit in a couple of months' as the staff enter their off-season. The app will be among the several suggestions I plan to make in a white paper.

Each year, I try to make some improvement in the Pilgrim Office process, no matter how tiny, to leave things better than I found them. In previous years, I have had some notable positive results. These results are invisible to outsiders but obvious to those who work there.

Hope this helps the dialog...
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#25
...
This is not rocket science. But getting the Church to make ANY change usually occurs similar to the flow of a glacier... I am on it, but am cautiously pessimistic...

My sole hope is that, as the next Holy Year approaches in 2021, cooler heads prevail and some modernization in the process occurs and is tested in the next couple of years. ...
So true!!!
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - March 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
March 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#26
I collected my Compostella at the end of my first pilgrimage . O really don't need another. My stamped passport is more important to me maybe only to stay in the albergues.
 

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