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August 2020 pilgrim statistics

Camino(s) past & future
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
I am utterly amazed that there were so many!
There were progressively more people on the Camino from Leon onwards when I was doing it and after Sarria it was quite busy at times. I had number 239 at c12.30 in the queue for the pilgrims office and knew people who had to come back the day after their arrival to collect their compostellas.

Based on my own impressions I think the August numbers are likely to repeat the pattern for July outlined in the article viz:

1. Overwhelming majority of compostellas issued to Spanish people
2. relatively few pilgrims over 60 (I only met two people older than me and saw few others even after Sarria).
3. The non-Spanish contingent on the Frances are predominantly Italian. French and German _in that order).

An interesting point about the people I met along the way is that not that many were walking the Camino purely from recreational/bucket list motivations. A lot of people had like me experienced a change in circumstances due to Covid, some were at a life crossroads and others were religiously motivated. In this sense (as well as the reduced numbers) walking the camino this year was I think a bit of a throwback.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
I am utterly amazed that there were so many!
Me, too! It's much quieter in town than during a typical August. There are some pilgrims here and there, but I would've never thought 19,000+ arrived! Maybe it doesn't feel as crowded since there aren't many big pilgrim groups about.
 

Chef66

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Now
I am just amazed at how many don't seem to have responded to the Covid problem but carried on with their own 'for me' personal plans.
I did Portugal Camino in June and July and there no people queuing for cosmpostella. Finished Frances last week and 1000 people for the day!
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I am utterly amazed that there were so many!
When the quarantine restrictions were imposed on UK returnees from Spain (and opposed by the Spanish government as ‘unjust’) it was estimated that 600,000 brits were either in Spain or had confirmed bookings to travel. Why would it be surprising that a vanishingly small percentage of those were Camino-bound? I’d be amazed if the German numbers were not similar if not greater.
 

arthur1218

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Tortuga
The thing is that people in Spain realize that this virus doesn't kill people like it used to in March or April.
Look at this chart below - this is the official data from Spanish Health Ministry. The orange shows the number of deaths. The black is the number of infections.

muertos.jpg

I know that many people living outside of Spain, especially seniors, are scared of getting infected, going to the hospital etc.
But most of the Spanish are not like that, they want to live their lives here and now, they don't want to wait for the vaccine. They are impatient. They think life is too precious to spent it at home locked inside the four walls. The number of infections is as high as in March, but hardly anyone dies from it nowadays in Spain. It may change in the future, but while the virus is not biting - the Spanish seize the day.

source of the chart - https://www.elconfidencial.com (September 3rd, 2020)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I‘m not convinced that Spanish holidaymakers behaved very differently from other Europeans this summer. There was a very pronounced tendency to spend the two weeks off work that so many typically take for a summer holiday trip either at home or elsewhere in their own country while trips abroad were generally shunned.

La Voz de Galicia managed to pad a whole article about a single figure for August with words and numbers about July and last year‘s August while all they had to work with was the total number of arrivals at the pilgrim‘s office. The office will soon publish more detailed statistics for August, as they usually do. Then we will know more about who went where for how long.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Not many figures have been published about August yet but some tourism sectors in Spain did well (and no matter how much we emphasise that pilgrims are not tourists in our view there is a relationship to tourism and travel patterns). Some Spanish sectors did well this August: what they call rural tourism had slightly better occupancy rates than last August and the Parador hotels had an occupancy rate in August of 80% which is deemed excellent (see for example here). Of course, none of this wiped out their severe losses during March-June.

My guess is that Camino pilgrims had a tendency to prefer private rooms over shared dormitories this summer but it is just a guess.

I had a look at the daily figures of arrivals at the pilgrims office. There was a steady increase from a couple of hundreds daily at the beginning of July to nearly one thousand on a few days towards the middle/end of August but now in September the daily number of arrivals is down again to 200-300 pilgrims.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
BTW, has anyone noticed that you can now enter your personal data beforehand on the Oficina‘s website when you want to request a Compostela? There‘s a new tab on the website and they have been trying to promote this for some time. Has anyone tried it yet?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sep/Oct 2015
C Primitivo Sep / Oct 2016
Portugese Sep/Oct 2017
VdlP, Muxia 2018

At 19,812 compostelas given out in August, twice as many as in July, but only a third the number of August 2019.
Also amazed by the numbers. Presumably most were Spanish pilgrims.
With the increasing numbers of Covid infections being reported, one wonders if the authorities will place further restrictions on the Camino?
I heard information from the Irish Medical authorities yesterday that 'young' people under 45 yrs old have a 1% chance of being seriously infected / affected by Covid-19 while those over 60 yrs old have a 20% , higher again for people over 70........
 

Sue127

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
The thing is that people in Spain realize that this virus doesn't kill people like it used to in March or April.
Look at this chart below - this is the official data from Spanish Health Ministry. The orange shows the number of deaths. The black is the number of infections.

View attachment 82249

I know that many people living outside of Spain, especially seniors, are scared of getting infected, going to the hospital etc.
But most of the Spanish are not like that, they want to live their lives here and now, they don't want to wait for the vaccine. They are impatient. They think life is too precious to spent it at home locked inside the four walls. The number of infections is as high as in March, but hardly anyone dies from it nowadays in Spain. It may change in the future, but while the virus is not biting - the Spanish seize the day.

source of the chart - https://www.elconfidencial.com (September 3rd, 2020)
That's a really interesting and encouraging chart, thank you. I may be changing my walking plans, yet again.
 

arthur1218

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Tortuga
I may be changing my walking plans, yet again.
There is another obstacle for walking across Spain which can be caused by the growing number of infections. Those "micro-confinements" of certain towns, and villages, when a very local lockdown is imposed without notice. Then it complicates your walk, and if you happen to be inside of such place when the lockdown is introduced, you won't get out for maybe 2 or 3 weeks.
There's been just an example of this in Santoña on the Camino del Norte. You can't enter or leave Santoña and I imagine the boats from Laredo to Santoña stopped operating, which makes you to take a big detour.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
Perhaps we ought not to be so very surprised: because after all there are millions of Spanish not going to work and we can assume that there are many of those who would like to do a Camino, so that is why the vast majority of pilgrims seem to be Spanish and starting in Sarria. When they go back to work we can expect those numbers to fall. The big question for the Camino is not this year, it's next year when would-be pilgrims can't afford to walk a Camino because millions of them have lost their jobs.
 

Tamas

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
multiple
But most of the Spanish are not like that, they want to live their lives here and now, they don't want to wait for the vaccine.
The fatality rate for those under 65 is .6%. For those 65 and older, it is over 16%, about one in six. The Camino is not fatal for most pilgrims, but it may be for the families of pilgrims and the families of service providers along the way.

Those who want to sacrifice their grandparents in order to walk the Camino, you can do it legally even if your choice can sacrifice MY grandparents. Each one of us needs to decide if they should can walk ethically.
 
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Eleonore

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese
Ingles
I am just amazed at how many don't seem to have responded to the Covid problem but carried on with their own 'for me' personal plans.
I totally agree with you. I am 78 and postponed my trip. Don’t know if I will be able to walk by the time it is safe. But,I will be thankful that I did not get Covid and spread it to others. My advice is: stay home as is requested to keep others safe.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Yesterday, on the first Saturday in September 2020, the Pilgrims Office welcomed 606 pilgrims who had arrived in Santiago on that day. The Correo Gallego titles: Hundreds of pilgrims turn Santiago into a collage of face masks. On the first Saturday in August, 769 pilgrims had arrived.

Saturday, 5 September, in Santiago de Compostela:
 
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Lurch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
looking at 2018-2019
I'm 75 and had planned to walk in October, now looking at April. Not all that worried about the virus, most who have died had other complications; heart disease, obesity, hypertension, etc. I am more concerned about the trek itself, the older I get!
 

Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
On the one hand, I am also amazed at the high number of pilgrims, but on the other hand I was also expecting them a bit.

Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, I felt especially sorry for the people in Spain. For weeks they had to do without so many things that make life worth living for them. They were almost not allowed to leave their homes, were not allowed to have contact with others etc. Of course, this also applies to many other countries, but I think the Spaniards find it particularly difficult. I come from Germany and the restrictions here were never as strict as in Spain. We were always allowed to go out, many people could work from home.
Only very few employees got into financial difficulties (unfortunately many businessmen). Many of us could enjoy the fantastic weather in March and April and, what I think is most important - we simply have a completely different mentality and way of life than the Spanish.

For Spaniards the physical contact to friends and family with hugs and kisses is much more essential than for us. And we love them for this cordiality and warmth.
The Germans are considered as cool and reserved, we kiss our wives and children and welcome the rest of the world "only" with a handshake. Of course this is a bit exaggerated and a stereotype, but there is a lot of truth in it. Whether we like it or not, that is the way we are.

Spain is an "outdoor society" that for months felt like a tiger in a zoo. We are more of an "indoor society" and in March and April everyone is at home anyway because it is still much too cold outside. We didn't lack as much of life as the people in many other countries.

In the spring I expressed my deepest regret and admiration for the people of these countries for all they have endured. Even if they stayed healthy, it was so much harder for them than for us.

And now they just have to get out, they can't take it anymore. It is a little bit like a dance on the volcano.

But who am I to judge?

But I hope that on the Camino they will not forget their responsibility for the people around and at home.
 

ACGMadrid

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese
This was a great result! I´m Irish but live in Madrid and walked from Tui to SdC last month. Apart from seeing 3 Japanese in Padrón, everyone we meet, everwhere we stayed or ate were Spanish; mostly from Andalucía and Alicante. Everyone wore masks when in towns or villages or in close contact with other people but once on the open road and away from, we took it off again.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
A recent article about the situation on the Camino Frances in July and August 2020 in the middle part of the trail, namely in Palencia. The albergues in this area registered 2,000 pilgrims in July and August versus 30,000 in 2019 (out of 50,000 annually!). In normal years, foreign pilgrims outnumber Spanish pilgrims in this area which was not the case this summer - maybe only a hundred foreign pilgrims or so, according to an interviewee's estimate.

Bicycles: There is a curious thing, and it is that more pilgrims have been seen on bicycles. There were a few years on the Camino, around 1993, when using a bicycle on the Camino became very fashionable. After that, it gradually decreased but, this summer, the percentage has increased compared to those who have done the route on foot.

A paradigmatic case: Burgos, which has a wonderful service for pilgrims, has closed its hostel. In Carrión, in mid-July, they opened two of the five albergues that usually exist; now only one remains open, and the truth is that it is enough for what [demand] there is.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
I totally agree with you. I am 78 and postponed my trip. Don’t know if I will be able to walk by the time it is safe. But,I will be thankful that I did not get Covid and spread it to others. My advice is: stay home as is requested to keep others safe.
I shall. be 76 in April 202 and the very second US State Department lifts travel restrictions, I shall book flights from St Louis to Madrid for fourth Camino (route: undecided). I have eight months to get rid of "extra belly fat", or, what I call "the COVID-15," on the 240 mile Katy Trail portion around Columbia-Rocheport MO. It is a flat trail. It is a boring boring boring! But by gum and by golly, with increasing weights in a 20 liter Gregory, I intend to be Camino-fit for the minute the "Vaya!" light goes green. I tested once, May 2020 and 'passed'.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
The pilgrims office have now published their more detailed statistics for August 2020 on their website, see https://oficinadelperegrino.com/estadisticas2/.

For example, about 76% of all the pilgrims who went to the office in August were Spanish.

Only 134 indicated the UK as country, 84 said United States and 44 said Ireland. The number of pilgrims from other mainly English speaking countries was below the threshold of 34 pilgrims and is therefore not listed separately.

Major groups in August 2020:
Spain - 15,168 pilgrims
Italy - 1,203 pilgrims
Portugal - 732 pilgrims
Germany - 642 pilgrims
France - 428 pilgrims
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
more detailed statistics for August 2020 on their website, see https://oficinadelperegrino.com/estadisticas2/.
What I find the most intriguing about the August 2020 statistics is the number of non-Spanish nationals who are resident in Spain and who apparently got a Compostela this summer. If the figure is correct and if the office staff did not change the way they collect their data, this high number is surprising. Nearly 4000 non-Spanish residents were pilgrims with a Compostela this August and not even a 100 last August??? While the figures for Spanish pilgrims from the various regions of Spain was halved more or less and remained the same for pilgrims from Galicia?

OTOH, I did noticed that some of the "Camino big names" walked this August and I don't think they would have done so in a more normal August.

August 2020.jpg
 

Sue127

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino in 2020
Interesting. Perhaps the non-Spanish residents would have normally visited family in their home countries?
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
We are more than half way through September. Daily numbers registered at the pilgrims office in Santiago remain low, oscillating around 300 per day. Total number of pilgrims getting a Compostela may be around 10,000 to 11,000 for this month.

Last year's total for September was around 45,000.

Relatively speaking and with the pilgrims office's numbers as reference point, September 2020 will be an even worse month than August 2020 was as far as pilgrim traffic for accommodation owners and gastronomy is concerned.

For pilgrims who enjoy tranquility it must be paradise to walk now. Like walking in November but with superior weather and plenty of warmth and sunshine and little cold rain.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
For pilgrims who enjoy tranquility it must be paradise to walk now. Like walking in November but with superior weather and plenty of warmth and sunshine and little cold rain.
Yes, started in Pamplona on Wednesday and now in Viana. Many albergues closed but those that are open are at half capacity so there is lots of space for us. Weather OK. So @Kathar1na yes, you are correct. But sometimes it is a long walk for a bed: everything shut between Puente la Reina and Estella
 

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