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COVID Is there a conversation in Spain about a tourism reset

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude those opinions. Like I said, I am more interested in if the conversation is happening than the pros and cons of an actual change.
 
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Lirsy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I would say that the Camino is indeed irrelevant from a financial point of view (approximately 0.4% of the total number of tourists and tourists with a very low rate of expenses per day), but instead it can be seen that governments (as much national and regional as local) are paying a lot of attention to the Camino (construction and maintenance of paths, signaling, public facilities, ...) ..... Why this contradiction?

INHO, The importance of the Camino cannot be assessed only from a financial point of view, forgetting other important aspects. Among others, the following aspects must also be taken into account to evaluate the importance of the Camino:
  • The Camino is an ancient tradition that has played a key role in shaping Spain and even Europe. Spaniards are very attached to traditions and most people consider that it deserves to protect them.
  • For the most part, with some exceptions, the Camino passes through areas with a low density of international tourism, so it does not contribute to the overcrowding of touristic areas.
  • For the most part, the Camino goes through areas full of very small towns that won't last long without the Camino. In this sense, it is helping to maintain the population in depopulated, aged and depressed areas.
  • The average pilgrim, due to his behavior and motivation, is a valuable asset (much more valuable than the average tourist in Magaluf as an example).
  • The Camino promotes the knowledge of a different Spain, not only the Spain of the beaches and the sun, but that of an important cultural heritage (Spain is the third country in the world by number of World Heritage Sites).
  • .....
And so on, I'm sure you can think of other different reasons that make the Camino a valuable asset.

In summary, I just think that the usefulness of the Camino cannot be assessed only taking into account its economic aspect, which is also important and also has to be taken into consideration.

Finally, it is clear that in Spain the remodeling of tourism is a key debate. With 84 million tourists (2019) and only 47 million inhabitants, tourism is one of the fundamental issues. Much has been said about how to de-mass tourism, how to achieve more respectful tourism, etc. But I have never heard the Camino criticized for its low economic interest.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I lived in Spain last year running an albergue and am now back in The Netherlands. We are still in lockdown and are trying to manage our Covid cases and deaths as is much, if not all of Europe - that's what the conversation is about, and projecting when we will be vaccinated and may have more than one visitor a day in our homes.
Thanks
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I would say that the Camino is indeed irrelevant from a financial point of view (approximately 0.4% of the total number of tourists and tourists with a very low rate of expenses per day), but instead it can be seen that governments (as much national and regional as local) are paying a lot of attention to the Camino (construction and maintenance of paths, signaling, public facilities, ...) ..... Why this contradiction?

INHO, The importance of the Camino cannot be assessed only from a financial point of view, forgetting other important aspects. Among others, the following aspects must also be taken into account to evaluate the importance of the Camino:
  • The Camino is an ancient tradition that has played a key role in shaping Spain and even Europe. Spaniards are very attached to traditions and most people consider that it deserves to protect them.
  • For the most part, with some exceptions, the Camino passes through areas with a low density of international tourism, so it does not contribute to the overcrowding of touristic areas.
  • For the most part, the Camino goes through areas full of very small towns that won't last long without the Camino. In this sense, it is helping to maintain the population in depopulated, aged and depressed areas.
  • The average pilgrim, due to his behavior and motivation, is a valuable asset (much more valuable than the average tourist in Magaluf as an example).
  • The Camino promotes the knowledge of a different Spain, not only the Spain of the beaches and the sun, but that of an important cultural heritage (Spain is the third country in the world by number of World Heritage Sites).
  • .....
And so on, I'm sure you can think of other different reasons that make the Camino a valuable asset.

In summary, I just think that the usefulness of the Camino cannot be assessed only taking into account its economic aspect, which is also important and also has to be taken into consideration.

Finally, it is clear that in Spain the remodeling of tourism is a key debate. With 84 million tourists (2019) and only 47 million inhabitants, tourism is one of the fundamental issues. Much has been said about how to de-mass tourism, how to achieve more respectful tourism, etc. But I have never heard the Camino criticized for its low economic interest.
Thanks for this informational comment.

It wasn't my intention to criticise the Camino but to understand if there was a conversation/plans to "de-mass" it for foreigners.

As repeat pilgrims, we sometimes grumble about how it has become more commercialised and over crowded. I was wondering if in Spain, people (other than those that profit from its commercialisation) grumble about the crowds and the changes that have occurred as it has become more commercialised or if the increasing numbers are always seen positively?

Your comments about how the Camino pilgrims contribute economically to small villages, sometimes with no other economic base, is very relevant. Thank you again.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I get the impression from @Lirsy s comments that there is an ongoing and important conversation within Spain about de-massing tourism but that, in general, this conversation doesn't or hasn't yet encompassed pilgrims or Camino tourists. Either because the numbers are too small compared with other forms of tourism or because the pilgrimage has a special aura that invites protection or because it is seen in a positive economic light in rural and small town Spain or all of these and then some.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
As repeat pilgrims, we sometimes grumble about how it has become more commercialised and over crowded.
This is something that, since it is evident for pilgrims, is not so evident for the general population, who have mostly never walked the Camino. Some initiatives have been proposed, not very successfully, such as requiring 300 km for the granting of the Compostela.

this conversation doesn't or hasn't yet encompassed pilgrims or Camino tourists. Either because the numbers are too small compared with other forms of tourism or because the pilgrimage has a special aura that invites protection or because it is seen in a positive economic light in rural and small town Spain
I would say of of them!🤣

I guess one takeaway for me from this is how do I become a more respectful pilgrim?
I would say that most pilgrims are quite respectful, both with the environment and with the people of the place, shops and local facilities. It is clear that, unfortunately, there are exceptions and it is also clear that we all have to try to improve our behavior. Anyway, considering the number of pilgrims, most places are reasonably clean, etc., which shows that most pilgrims care a lot about their behavior. As I have been hospitalero, I am very aware of the exceptions! LOL🤣
 
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Stroller

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
There has been talk, I think reported on this forum, about pilgrims/tourists overwhelming Logrono in particular and diluting local culture. Don't understand how widespread this fear/dislike is.

In terms of going upmarket, in the UK there are no, or very few, cheap places to stay on something like the albergue model, a simple bed and possibly a meal, so taking a long walk becomes expensive or involves some form of camping. As you age the idea of lugging a tent becomes less inviting as does a bivvy bag, at least in my case, so less long distance walking in the UK. So it depends on what you want to achieve by going upmarket.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
There was an article today in the Guardian which at first glance seemed to be about one subject but embraced many others. It, on first viewing, looked as if the subject was about rural opportunities for women but, within the article, touched on many subjects which perhaps need to be thought through and a rebalance or reset established.
I found it very interesting and it did touch on tourism, gender and age demographics and how Spain balances and micro manages its society and economy.

 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
For yourself, this is something you have to decide for yourself. For the authorities, it is. It's also a cultural fact, it is also a ...
I say, yes, I think we (pilgrims) are a form of tourism, whether we want to think so or not, even if many consider what they/we do as a pilgrimage.
 
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Unique engravings about the Camino de Santiago from Gabriel and other art objects.
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Oh, go on then: lets play Etymology: the fun game for everyone who can't go on a Camino at the moment. Suits ages 16 - 99.

What happens if we play with: Pilgrims go on Pilgrimages,Tourists go on Tours? Well, what usually happens is the forum erupts into an increasingly heated argument about what constitutes a True Pilgrim and the corresponding Thread gets locked. Sometimes some Members even get Points - though scoring points is not the point of this game. Surprisingly, given the expertise of so many members, we seldom see debate about what constitutes a True Tourist.

The etymology of a word means its origin and development throughout history. Did Touregrino develop out of the Grand Tour or the short pilgrimage?

As an afterthought: Tourism Bureau are very fond of Pilgrims (well, the Oficina de Turismo de Galicia certainly is) 'cos they generally confine themselves to specified routes and destinations, can be monitored easily, don't seem to complain much (well, not to the Oficina anyway) as they don't consider themselves Tourists.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude those opinions. Like I said, I am more interested in if the conversation is happening than the pros and cons of an actual change.
Methinks I was a happier human when I was just a visitor, ignorant of rules written or otherwise. I took my natural good manners with me and spent my pennies cheerfully. Didn't know anything about forums either and wore the gear of my choice, the rucksack from the army and navy surplus stores and the tent I could afford. I sure as hell wasn't wearing a scallop shell or using poles and I like to think the locals liked me as much as I liked them. :)

Buen camino

Samarkand.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
The conversation is starting to head in a direction that I am uninterested in.

Please don't comment about tourist vs pilgrim.

This thread is for the discussion of possible de-massing of tourism in Spain and the EU, and how that might affect the Camino.

@Lirsy @LTfit @Stroller and @Bristle Boy have the correct approach for this thread.

Thanks
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2012
@Doughnut NZ, i'm intrigued by the question but struggling to find a fitting response. The Camino and its Pilgrims are such a minor part of Spains tourist industry that they are unlikely to figure in any government planning. The Galician tourismo has devoted significant effort and €'s to promoting (and improving(?)) the Camino, and will no doubt continue to do so, because Galicia lacks the classic go-to's of sun, sex & sangria. On a national level? De nada.

In the UK the entire conversation is on Staycation and the opportunities that that offers to build more theme parks, holiday camps and convert more rural homes into "holiday" cottages. Still, I guess that the young people who might have stayed in their home villages will instead get a nice job in the big city dealing with the phone calls from holidaymakers wondering why the village is so dead.

I'm intrigued by the concept of taking tourism up-market. So, no back-packers, no van-campers, no Fred & Florrie on a fortnights package: just nice rich (carbon-offset paid) people willing to pay loads to stay.

De-massing of tourism? I think thats been done for us in the last 12 months. Let's wait & see if there is anything like a tourism industry again.
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude those opinions. Like I said, I am more interested in if the conversation is happening than the pros and cons of an actual change.
I think that Boutan did this exercise few years ago. They calculate how cost the tourism in their country ( pollution + waiste impact on country etc.) They realize that 250$ US per day would be the cost of any tourist for a day. This price include food and accomodations. And give s profit to the country as well.

I think this country réalisé that the tourism impact was such that under this price they prefer not see any.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
@Doughnut NZ, i'm intrigued by the question but struggling to find a fitting response. The Camino and its Pilgrims are such a minor part of Spains tourist industry that they are unlikely to figure in any government planning. The Galician tourismo has devoted significant effort and €'s to promoting (and improving(?)) the Camino, and will no doubt continue to do so, because Galicia lacks the classic go-to's of sun, sex & sangria. On a national level? De nada.
I will explain a little about what prompted this thread.

As @LTfit expressed, right now Spain and much of the EU people are in the midst of dealing with a pandemic and not thinking much beyond surviving that and the effects of managing it. In ANZ and some other countries we are fortunate enough to be just beyond that.

Like Spain but to a lesser degree, a significant part of our economy has been devastated and we are starting to plan for the huge Government investment that will help recover from that devastation.

At the same time, people are putting their hands up and saying, hey wait on a minute, instead of blindly using this recovery money to simply replace what was there before, why not think about how we can use this money to do more than one thing or create a better tourism industry.

Before the pandemic we had issues of overcrowding that was forcing out locals, environmental destruction from too many people leaving their litter and faeces everywhere and because we are so far away from most people the carbon cost of getting people here is very high.

Can we use the recovery money to help mitigate these issues while recovering the tourist industry or should we not even try to recover international tourism and spend that recovery money on developing new industries with less secondary issues?

We are having these conversations ahead of Spain and the EU not because we are cleverer, but because we were lucky enough to make some different decisions early on that were advantageous.

Make no mistake though, very soon Spain and the EU will be where we are now and there will be huge pressure to quickly spend Billions and even Trillions of Euros on recovering tourism.

Like ANZ there have been prior conversations within Spain about de-massing tourism especially in Barcelona and even Madrid.

That the various Caminos represent such a small part of the overall tourism industry is both a benefit and a risk.

The risk is that it is so small that it will get forgotten about when the policy decisions are being made.

By raising this question in this forum now, ahead of when it would naturally have come up I am hoping to help prepare our Spanish friends and supporters with ideas.

If @Lirsy s ideas are already widely known and accepted then I think that the Spanish Camino supporters are already fully prepared and we have little to worry about.

In the UK the entire conversation is on Staycation and the opportunities that that offers to build more theme parks, holiday camps and convert more rural homes into "holiday" cottages. Still, I guess that the young people who might have stayed in their home villages will instead get a nice job in the big city dealing with the phone calls from holidaymakers wondering why the village is so dead.
This is similar to ANZ but is more focused on how the tourism industry can survive UNTIL the international tourists return. It is not so much about a long term strategy.
I'm intrigued by the concept of taking tourism up-market. So, no back-packers, no van-campers, no Fred & Florrie on a fortnights package: just nice rich (carbon-offset paid) people willing to pay loads to stay.
Yes but it is not a binary, lets choose this lot and have none of those. It is more subtle, lets have a few more of these and a few less of those.
De-massing of tourism? I think thats been done for us in the last 12 months. Let's wait & see if there is anything like a tourism industry again.
It is exactly what gets done when we are through this that I am concerned about.

Thanks heaps for your very useful contribution 🥝🙂
 

dick bird

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
I would say that the Camino is indeed irrelevant from a financial point of view (approximately 0.4% of the total number of tourists and tourists with a very low rate of expenses per day), but instead it can be seen that governments (as much national and regional as local) are paying a lot of attention to the Camino (construction and maintenance of paths, signaling, public facilities, ...) ..... Why this contradiction?

INHO, The importance of the Camino cannot be assessed only from a financial point of view, forgetting other important aspects. Among others, the following aspects must also be taken into account to evaluate the importance of the Camino:
  • The Camino is an ancient tradition that has played a key role in shaping Spain and even Europe. Spaniards are very attached to traditions and most people consider that it deserves to protect them.
  • For the most part, with some exceptions, the Camino passes through areas with a low density of international tourism, so it does not contribute to the overcrowding of touristic areas.
  • For the most part, the Camino goes through areas full of very small towns that won't last long without the Camino. In this sense, it is helping to maintain the population in depopulated, aged and depressed areas.
  • The average pilgrim, due to his behavior and motivation, is a valuable asset (much more valuable than the average tourist in Magaluf as an example).
  • The Camino promotes the knowledge of a different Spain, not only the Spain of the beaches and the sun, but that of an important cultural heritage (Spain is the third country in the world by number of World Heritage Sites).
  • .....
And so on, I'm sure you can think of other different reasons that make the Camino a valuable asset.

In summary, I just think that the usefulness of the Camino cannot be assessed only taking into account its economic aspect, which is also important and also has to be taken into consideration.

Finally, it is clear that in Spain the remodeling of tourism is a key debate. With 84 million tourists (2019) and only 47 million inhabitants, tourism is one of the fundamental issues. Much has been said about how to de-mass tourism, how to achieve more respectful tourism, etc. But I have never heard the Camino criticized for its low economic interest.
You are absolutely right here. One could add that 0.4% overlooks the fact that most of these 0.4% stay a lot longer than two weeks, and that they visit areas and places tourists don't always visit: I am quite convinced that pilgrims are keeping many local businesses alive which in turn keep the local communities alive. Another point is that the pilgrim demographic is subtly changing - even on this forum one gets the impression that more and more pilgrims are switching from municipal albergues to private albergues and hotels - your last paragraph relates to this. Either way, the Spanish generally value the Camino, and that can't be a bad thing.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Thank you @Doughnut NZ ...I understand your thread.
Just to put another thought into the mix...I suspect governments of countries heavily dependent on tourism are looking at things post pandemic (or should) and, if they are, may be thinking a little outside the box here at which parts of tourism they might wish to encourage no matter how small and have a rather unique position within the category of tourism.
I am able to see that this might be a good outcome to some and bad for others.
 
D

Deleted member 76633

Guest
Before the pandemic we had issues of overcrowding that was forcing out locals, environmental destruction from too many people leaving their litter and faeces everywhere and because we are so far away from most people the carbon cost of getting people here is very high.

Can we use the recovery money to help mitigate these issues while recovering the tourist industry or should we not even try to recover international tourism and spend that recovery money on developing new industries with less secondary issues?

Pandemics and pilgrimage/tourism (whatever your choice) is not new. You can even go back to the effects of the Black Plague on the Camino - pilgrims being carriers - or the illnesses that affected those travelling to Jerusalem.

And since it is not an unknown event, there is likely to have been in-depth studies that suggest the likely responses being considered. Perhaps these could be a working list of the items you wish to propose. A quick search offers up the following studies:

  • Dengue epidemic in Touba, Senegal: implications for the Grand Magal Pilgrimage for travellers
  • [BOOK] Pilgrimage, Politics, and Pestilence: The Haj from the Indian Subcontinent, 1860–1920
  • Pilgrimage and COVID-19: the risk among returnees from Muslim countries
  • Crisis Management and The Impact of Pandemics on Religious Tourism
  • Pilgrimage of pain: the illness experiences of women with repetition strain injury and the search for credibility
  • The Hajj pilgrimage during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: event hosting without the mass gathering
  • The annual Hajj pilgrimage—minimizing the risk of ill health in pilgrims from Europe and opportunity for driving the best prevention and health promotion …
  • Outbreak of serogroup W135 meningococcal disease after the Hajj pilgrimage, Europe, 2000
    Meningococcal carriage among local inhabitants during the pilgrimage 2000–2001
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Pandemics and pilgrimage/tourism (whatever your choice) is not new. You can even go back to the effects of the Black Plague on the Camino - pilgrims being carriers - or the illnesses that affected those travelling to Jerusalem.

And since it is not an unknown event, there is likely to have been in-depth studies that suggest the likely responses being considered. Perhaps these could be a working list of the items you wish to propose. A quick search offers up the following studies:

  • Dengue epidemic in Touba, Senegal: implications for the Grand Magal Pilgrimage for travellers
  • [BOOK] Pilgrimage, Politics, and Pestilence: The Haj from the Indian Subcontinent, 1860–1920
  • Pilgrimage and COVID-19: the risk among returnees from Muslim countries
  • Crisis Management and The Impact of Pandemics on Religious Tourism
  • Pilgrimage of pain: the illness experiences of women with repetition strain injury and the search for credibility
  • The Hajj pilgrimage during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020: event hosting without the mass gathering
  • The annual Hajj pilgrimage—minimizing the risk of ill health in pilgrims from Europe and opportunity for driving the best prevention and health promotion …
  • Outbreak of serogroup W135 meningococcal disease after the Hajj pilgrimage, Europe, 2000
    Meningococcal carriage among local inhabitants during the pilgrimage 2000–2001
Hmmm, I am a little confused. I am not seeking information about pilgrimage during or after a pandemic.

I am interested in how Spain plans to recover its tourism industry and how this might or might not affect the Camino.

Thanks for your contribution anyway 🙂
 
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Rick H

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018 from Leon to Santiago
Frances Sep-Oct 2019
One man's (or woman's) "de-massing" is another man's lost business. Spain has been a poor country for many years, though the EU has brought some relief over the past few decades. As for the Camino, lets not get too fixated on one person and their backpack and albergue. We fly into the country, maybe stay a few days in Madrid or Barcelona or Santiago on the way out. I stayed 1/3-1/2 the time in hotels along the Way to have some privacy and recoup time. There are numerous tour groups that provide a spectrum of Camino tours from barebones to extravagant. So I think the economic impact of each pilgrim is quite substantial for Spain and especially to the less touristy areas in the north. And of course, the Camino is considered a Pilgrimage, not holiday. I'd hope the Camino remains a very open and welcoming path for all who seek make it their own.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I am interested in how Spain plans to recover its tourism industry and how this might or might not affect the Camino
I follow news from Spain and other European countries on and off and I have not noticed the kind of conversations about a reset that you mentioned for NZ. I vaguely remember having read one article last year were it said that local people were enjoying walking on stretches of the CF - daily walks, not anything remotely pilgrimage related - and liked the absence of tourists/pilgrims. That is the extent of my knowledge in this respect.

BTW, the protest action in Logroño that someone mentioned a few years ago was an isolated action by a minor protest group, it came and went, and that was it as far as I can tell.

The Camino de Santiago and in particular the Xacobeo 2021-2022 program with cultural events and PR actions is a touristic product for Galicia, the other regions and Spain in general, whether or not someone insists that we are pilgrims and not tourists. From what I read, they are currently “restarting“ their Xacobeo programs and I don’t detect any fundament changes. They always included talk of sustainability and of more quality for and of tourism, even before COVID-19.

One of the reasons why Spain in particular pays more attention to “massification” in particular and has started to explore how to mitigate it, is the fact that it starts to keep the European tourists away that they want to attract.

One change that is taking place, I think: more and faster digitalisation. The lockdowns and mobility restrictions may have played the role of an accelerator for processes that had already started. In relation to the Camino: there are now two online systems to steer the demand/offer of albergue beds, one financed by Galicia and the other by the Association of Camino Municipalities, as well as various other digitalisation programs financed by the Cathedral in connection with sellos and Compostelas.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
There was an article today in the Guardian which at first glance seemed to be about one subject but embraced many others. It, on first viewing, looked as if the subject was about rural opportunities for women but, within the article, touched on many subjects which perhaps need to be thought through and a rebalance or reset established.
I found it very interesting and it did touch on tourism, gender and age demographics and how Spain balances and micro manages its society and economy.

"The nine-month shepherding course includes nearly 500 hours of online training and one weekend a month of hands-on instruction set against the mountains and deep valleys of Cantabria, and after registration got under way earlier this year, 265 applications came pouring in. “It was a very pleasant surprise,” said Pacheco. “It’s clear that we’re meeting a need that exists in society.”

500 hours of training for sheep shepherding !!??
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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"The nine-month shepherding course includes nearly 500 hours of online training and one weekend a month of hands-on instruction set against the mountains and deep valleys of Cantabria, and after registration got under way earlier this year, 265 applications came pouring in. “It was a very pleasant surprise,” said Pacheco. “It’s clear that we’re meeting a need that exists in society.”

500 hours of training for sheep shepherding !!??
I expect there is a lot more involved than appears at first glance.
 
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Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Only indirectly related to the topic but perhaps useful nevertheless to better assess the economic impact and other impacts of the Caminos. We often read how Spain is so very dependent on tourism so I was surprised to see figures for those EU countries that are most dependent on tourism (as % of GDP), see below. I wonder whether the situation is different in Spain compared to say Austria because Spain has such huge concentrations of international mass tourism hotspots in the summer mainly, like the islands and the coast on the south, while it’s more evenly distributed over seasons and territories in Austria.

Galicia, CyL and Rioja aren’t really hotspots of international tourism. Santiago de Compostela I think has taken some measures to reduce the pressure of too big an influx and to increase the “quality” of visitors in the sense that they want to see more people who stay longer than one night and I vaguely remember that the town does not allow the opening of new albergues/hostals but, again, that was already before 2020. Also, the number of foot pilgrims compared to the total number of visitors in Santiago is small. Something like 350,000 to 2 million?

As I said, I am not aware of the kind of conversation mentioned in the first post but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If anything, the current crisis may reenforce and accelerate the existing trend to “slower” and more “meaningful” travel and tourism, both on the side of the travellers and the economic actors.

  • Croatia (25%)
  • Cyprus (22%)
  • Greece (21%),
  • Portugal (19%)
  • Austria , Estonia, Spain (15%)
  • Italy (13%)
  • Slovenia, Bulgaria (12%)
  • Malta (11%),
  • France (10%)
  • Germany (9%)
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Only indirectly related to the topic but perhaps useful nevertheless to better assess the economic impact and other impacts of the Caminos. We often read how Spain is so very dependent on tourism so I was surprised to see figures for those EU countries that are most dependent on tourism (as % of GDP), see below. I wonder whether the situation is different in Spain compared to say Austria because Spain has such huge concentrations of international mass tourism hotspots in the summer mainly, like the islands and the coast on the south, while it’s more evenly distributed over seasons and territories in Austria.

Galicia, CyL and Rioja aren’t really hotspots of international tourism. Santiago de Compostela I think has taken some measures to reduce the pressure of too big an influx and to increase the “quality” of visitors in the sense that they want to see more people who stay longer than one night and I vaguely remember that the town does not allow the opening of new albergues/hostals but, again, that was already before 2020. Also, the number of foot pilgrims compared to the total number of visitors in Santiago is small. Something like 350,000 to 2 million?

As I said, I am not aware of the kind of conversation mentioned in the first post but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If anything, the current crisis may reenforce and accelerate the existing trend to “slower” and more “meaningful” travel and tourism, both on the side of the travellers and the economic actors.

  • Croatia (25%)
  • Cyprus (22%)
  • Greece (21%),
  • Portugal (19%)
  • Austria , Estonia, Spain (15%)
  • Italy (13%)
  • Slovenia, Bulgaria (12%)
  • Malta (11%),
  • France (10%)
  • Germany (9%)
I expect this conversation to heat up as Spain and the EU get through most of the Covid issues and start spending money on recovery.

The huge amounts of money that will be available to spend will prompt all sorts of advocacy and the cry will be to build back better rather than just reproducing what was there before.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Only indirectly related to the topic but perhaps useful nevertheless to better assess the economic impact and other impacts of the Caminos. We often read how Spain is so very dependent on tourism so I was surprised to see figures for those EU countries that are most dependent on tourism (as % of GDP), see below. I wonder whether the situation is different in Spain compared to say Austria because Spain has such huge concentrations of international mass tourism hotspots in the summer mainly, like the islands and the coast on the south, while it’s more evenly distributed over seasons and territories in Austria.

Galicia, CyL and Rioja aren’t really hotspots of international tourism. Santiago de Compostela I think has taken some measures to reduce the pressure of too big an influx and to increase the “quality” of visitors in the sense that they want to see more people who stay longer than one night and I vaguely remember that the town does not allow the opening of new albergues/hostals but, again, that was already before 2020. Also, the number of foot pilgrims compared to the total number of visitors in Santiago is small. Something like 350,000 to 2 million?

As I said, I am not aware of the kind of conversation mentioned in the first post but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If anything, the current crisis may reenforce and accelerate the existing trend to “slower” and more “meaningful” travel and tourism, both on the side of the travellers and the economic actors.

  • Croatia (25%)
  • Cyprus (22%)
  • Greece (21%),
  • Portugal (19%)
  • Austria , Estonia, Spain (15%)
  • Italy (13%)
  • Slovenia, Bulgaria (12%)
  • Malta (11%),
  • France (10%)
  • Germany (9%)
These figures may be direct tourism, it depends where you got them from. I have huge respect for your research skills and so I don't doubt them but with almost double Spain's population as annual tourists there has to also be very wide spread effects including on remote areas such as infrastructure and roading.
 

TagoMago

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2015)
A massive number of private and local business survive on and specifically cater to the budget traveler, so I think that would be a very bad idea for an industry that is already suffering, then you have the ethical problem of restricting travel based on class & privilege. If many countries were to follow this model by NZ it would be economic suicide. I also don't think the more budget-conscious traveler will exactly be rushing out the door to the nearest airport as soon as Covid allows it, so it's kind of a mute point anyway.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
These figures may be direct tourism, it depends where you got them from
I got them from a webpage about The EU helps reboot Europe's tourism. Although quite an official website, the ranking of these countries may be less meaningful than I initially thought, and this kind of information webpages are not error free. I was looking for more pertinent info actually but didn’t see anything more useful than a reference to “green and digital transformation“.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I got them from a webpage about The EU helps reboot Europe's tourism. Although quite an official website, the ranking of these countries may be less meaningful than I initially thought, and this kind of information webpages are not error free. I was looking for more pertinent info actually but didn’t see anything more useful than a reference to “green and digital transformation“.
Interestingly, that site contains this quote:
The current crisis is an opportunity to make the tourism industry more resilient and strengthen the green and digital transformation of EU tourism
It seems that there is the start of a conversation to "build back better".
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I got them from a webpage about The EU helps reboot Europe's tourism. Although quite an official website, the ranking of these countries may be less meaningful than I initially thought, and this kind of information webpages are not error free. I was looking for more pertinent info actually but didn’t see anything more useful than a reference to “green and digital transformation“.
The site also makes mention of controlling tourism flows and diversifying tourism.

I tried to get more details on these but the site is very short on details. ☹️
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I got them from a webpage about The EU helps reboot Europe's tourism. Although quite an official website, the ranking of these countries may be less meaningful than I initially thought, and this kind of information webpages are not error free. I was looking for more pertinent info actually but didn’t see anything more useful than a reference to “green and digital transformation“.
Thank you for that. It was interesting.
In times when we are lucky to see the other side of our front door and nearly everything has changed from work, shopping, social interaction, education and many other things, then tourism may have to adapt from what is a relatively unchanged business model.
Perhaps it is about Tourist mass rather than mass tourism and how Spain adapts to protect a very important part of their economy.
How this affects the camino I don't know but I think it will be more about diversifying which might mean reducing tourism in some areas and encouraging it in others.
 

Pilgrim9

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My slow solo foot-pilgrimage along the CF several years ago was rather idyllic, and I received what I thought was a genuine welcome everywhere I stopped, and even friendly words from non-pilgrim passers-by.

Reading this thread has started me wondering if I missed signs of unrest amongst the good citizens and permanent residents of Spain.

A question for those who reside in e.g. Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon, Ponferrada, or Santiago de Compostela: Have you sensed amongst those of your co-residents who do not have a direct financial stake in the Camino, a significant level of resistance to, or resentment of, the long parade of foreign foot-pilgrims? Is there a feeling that we foreigners are monopolizing your trail?

I would like to walk some variant of the CF again, possibly repeating every year or two, but if an underlying resentment to foreigners is developing along The Way, I think I would prefer to go somewhere else.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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I would like to walk some variant of the CF again, possibly repeating every year or two, but if an underlying resentment to foreigners is developing along The Way, I think I would prefer to go somewhere else.
Hmmm. I always felt the villagers were kind; quick to get our attention and point us in the right direction if they noticed we were heading off the wrong way or appeared confused.
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hmmm, I am a little confused. I am not seeking information about pilgrimage during or after a pandemic.

I am interested in how Spain plans to recover its tourism industry and how this might or might not affect the Camino.

Thanks for your contribution anyway 🙂

I have no specific knowledge but If Spain is like most countries, I would think "The Camino" will have very little impact on their recovery plans for tourism. Countries usually focus on the areas that will get them the biggest bang for their buck and the industries that create the most noise and make the largest political contributions. I am somewhat cynical when it comes to government.

That said, there are strong regional groups/fraternity's that support the Camino and probably have some politicians ears. Rebecca/Ivar, probably have better insight on this question.
 

gns

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
Only indirectly related to the topic but perhaps useful nevertheless to better assess the economic impact and other impacts of the Caminos. We often read how Spain is so very dependent on tourism so I was surprised to see figures for those EU countries that are most dependent on tourism (as % of GDP), see below. I wonder whether the situation is different in Spain compared to say Austria because Spain has such huge concentrations of international mass tourism hotspots in the summer mainly, like the islands and the coast on the south, while it’s more evenly distributed over seasons and territories in Austria.

Galicia, CyL and Rioja aren’t really hotspots of international tourism. Santiago de Compostela I think has taken some measures to reduce the pressure of too big an influx and to increase the “quality” of visitors in the sense that they want to see more people who stay longer than one night and I vaguely remember that the town does not allow the opening of new albergues/hostals but, again, that was already before 2020. Also, the number of foot pilgrims compared to the total number of visitors in Santiago is small. Something like 350,000 to 2 million?

As I said, I am not aware of the kind of conversation mentioned in the first post but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If anything, the current crisis may reenforce and accelerate the existing trend to “slower” and more “meaningful” travel and tourism, both on the side of the travellers and the economic actors.

  • Croatia (25%)
  • Cyprus (22%)
  • Greece (21%),
  • Portugal (19%)
  • Austria , Estonia, Spain (15%)
  • Italy (13%)
  • Slovenia, Bulgaria (12%)
  • Malta (11%),
  • France (10%)
  • Germany (9%)
I think Austria is be boosted by winter sports and Mozart (plus a nameless film). The beauty of the Alps and the Tyrol means that it has all year round appeal.

The Spanish government now has a minister with specific responsibility for rural areas facing depopulation. I would be very surprised if increasing traffic on secondary Camino routes is not on the agenda already.
 

The Austrian

Member
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Yes, of course there are discussions across Europe about the future and quality of tourism. Not sure what Spain's plans looks like, here in Austria there are all sorts of ideas being tossed around. Limiting access to towns like Hallstatt or Salzburg with daily quotas, is just one hard to implement idea.
I am somewhat cautious if any of the plans of sector upgrading can succeed, since most of the debates are lead by "meinungsforscher" and politicians.
Plus, with companies such as Cryin Air or Queasyjet jetting us around the continent for 35.00 roundtrip, allowing everyone to visit and whine about how expensive Paris is (it is not), there cannot be a serious, meaningful change in tourism.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Yes, of course there are discussions across Europe about the future and quality of tourism. Not sure what Spain's plans looks like, here in Austria there are all sorts of ideas being tossed around. Limiting access to towns like Hallstatt or Salzburg with daily quotas, is just one hard to implement idea.
I am somewhat cautious if any of the plans of sector upgrading can succeed, since most of the debates are lead by "meinungsforscher" and politicians.
Plus, with companies such as Cryin Air or Queasyjet jetting us around the continent for 35.00 roundtrip, allowing everyone to visit and whine about how expensive Paris is (it is not), there cannot be a serious, meaningful change in tourism.
Here are some suggestions and examples from ANZ, not all will be applicable to Spain and the EU but they may prompt ideas. Please note, I am NOT advocating for any of these ideas, they are simply discussion starters.

Carbon taxes and surcharges will push the cost of ultracheap flights up. I think that the site that @Kathar1na linked to earlier in this thread is hinting at this.

One of the forms of mass tourism in ANZ is 10-15 day tours out of Asia that visit Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, with 3 days in ANZ and the rest in Oz. These tours fly into ANZ bus to a couple of well known sights, perhaps fly between the main islands then fly out again. Meanwhile staying their 2/3 nights in hotels specifically set up for them and owned overseas and eating at the same or similar establishments.

Policy changes suggested include an E110 departure tax for all people leaving ANZ (with the funds collected being earmarked for tourism development like building more toilets in wild camping areas and National park development) and a First night bed tax, amount unspecified.

These policies have multiple effects such as increasing the costs of short stays without unduly increasing the costs for longer stays; providing funds for environmental remediation and protection and (importantly for ANZ) not increasing costs for long term immigrants and Kiwis returning to ANZ. The departure tax also makes it more expensive for Kiwis to holiday overseas, thereby incentivising some to holiday in ANZ instead.

On the camper van front there is currently a requirement for any van that uses any free or wild camping area to be registered and have self contained toilet facilities. The very cheap, small vans currently use portable toilets when getting their annual registration and then discarding them to save space in the van.

A proposed policy change is to only allow vans with permanently plumbed toilets to be registered.

This means that as well as saving our environment the cheaper, smaller vans are removed from the market and this tends to push van tourism more upmarket.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have no specific knowledge but If Spain is like most countries, I would think "The Camino" will have very little impact on their recovery plans for tourism. Countries usually focus on the areas that will get them the biggest bang for their buck and the industries that create the most noise and make the largest political contributions. I am somewhat cynical when it comes to government.

That said, there are strong regional groups/fraternity's that support the Camino and probably have some politicians ears. Rebecca/Ivar, probably have better insight on this question.
This is a double edged situation. Camino pilgrims may well be too small a group to target but the small size may also mean that pilgrims get forgotten and caught up negatively in changes targeted at larger groups.
 
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I am interested in how Spain plans to recover its tourism industry and how this might or might not affect the Camino.

I can't see how some of these ideas about tax and restriction can apply in a Schengen type free travel area, especially when related to such a small number over a wide geographical area.

Caminos (300K pa). Venice alone (30mn)
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I can't see how some of these ideas about tax and restriction can apply in a Schengen type free travel area, especially when related to such a small number over a wide geographical area.

...

"we propose that every passenger departing from an airport within the EU and every passenger arriving from outside the EU at an EU-based airport is subjected to this new carbon tax which is calculated individually for every route flown"

A quote taken from
https://ec.europa.eu/budget/mff/Lib...rbon-basedFlightTicketTax-Schratzenstalle.pdf
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
This is an interesting debate on the larger environmental cost of "tourism" and its impact. This is very much a hot topic at the moment (and rightly so imo) and without the information at hand (and perhaps @Kathar1na could assist here) I am unaware of the relative/average air miles or the carbon footprint of a "camino tourist" against that of a "vacational tourist" spending time in Spain.
I would surmise (and I may be wrong) that the average carbon footprint left is much bigger for someone on camino as far as arrival and departure are concerned although that which is left while they are there might be less.
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
This is a double edged situation. Camino pilgrims may well be too small a group to target but the small size may also mean that pilgrims get forgotten and caught up negatively in changes targeted at larger groups.
I am trying to imagine what type of changes those might be. We are transient visitors moving through, not the most popular tourism areas. Pilgrims, for the most part, are also EU citizens. My best guess is that any changes would not impact the Camino.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
"we propose that every passenger departing from an airport within the EU and every passenger arriving from outside the EU at an EU-based airport is subjected to this new carbon tax which is calculated individually for every route flown"

A quote taken from
https://ec.europa.eu/budget/mff/Lib...rbon-basedFlightTicketTax-Schratzenstalle.pdf
This, tariff, is unlikely but if enacted would most certainly become reciprocal. I can see it being done, possibly, in the interest of climate change. This type of tax/tariff would be like a toll and paid by users.
 
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Doughnut NZ

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This article says that cities like Barcelona and Lisbon have decided to keep the new, previously temporary, cycle ways and pedestrian paths that were created in many places during the initial Covid-19 lockdowns
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
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All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
I can't see how some of these ideas about tax and restriction can apply in a Schengen type free travel area, especially when related to such a small number over a wide geographical area.

Caminos (300K pa). Venice alone (30mn)
For the record , there are already 8 countrys ( UK , France , Italy , Austria , Germany , Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands ) with a flight tax.
 
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Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I plan on walking the Camino April 2018.
This Guardian article from last year suggests that much of Europe has been having a conversation about tourism vs locals as a result of the Covid slowdown:
In Melbourne, where I am from, locals rediscovered there own suburbs during lockdown. I did, being restricted to 1 hour of exercise a day for months. I decided to research sites of interest, heritage listed houses etc. I posted pics and information on my Facebook page and friends locally and internationally commented positively.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
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All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
This article says that cities like Barcelona and Lisbon have decided to keep the new, previously temporary, cycle ways and pedestrian paths that were created in many places during the initial Covid-19 lockdowns
We in the Netherlands already had them,

Some 35,000 km of cycle-track has been physically segregated from motor traffic, equal to a quarter of the country's entire 140,000 km road network. On other roads and streets, bicycle and motor vehicles share the same road-space, but these are usually roads with a low speed limit.
 

jungleboy

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This article says that cities like Barcelona and Lisbon have decided to keep the new, previously temporary, cycle ways and pedestrian paths that were created in many places during the initial Covid-19 lockdowns
I assume Lisbon has decided to keep its hills too ;)

It's not a great cycling city for that reason, but it's a wonderful walking city in spite of (because of?) it.
 
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TrvlDad1

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@Doughnut NZ, i'm intrigued by the question but struggling to find a fitting response. The Camino and its Pilgrims are such a minor part of Spains tourist industry that they are unlikely to figure in any government planning. The Galician tourismo has devoted significant effort and €'s to promoting (and improving(?)) the Camino, and will no doubt continue to do so, because Galicia lacks the classic go-to's of sun, sex & sangria. On a national level? De nada.

In the UK the entire conversation is on Staycation and the opportunities that that offers to build more theme parks, holiday camps and convert more rural homes into "holiday" cottages. Still, I guess that the young people who might have stayed in their home villages will instead get a nice job in the big city dealing with the phone calls from holidaymakers wondering why the village is so dead.

I'm intrigued by the concept of taking tourism up-market. So, no back-packers, no van-campers, no Fred & Florrie on a fortnights package: just nice rich (carbon-offset paid) people willing to pay loads to stay.

De-massing of tourism? I think thats been done for us in the last 12 months. Let's wait & see if there is anything like a tourism industry again.
Upscale, low mass, low carbon tourism requires high cost infrastructure, staff retraining, and will probably benefit a smaller portion of the host country/society. So the economic benefit is questionable and the cultural risk significant. And then the “masses” will want to experience it, so it will devolve to mass Disney-type tourism. Then the Camino will look like such a better experience (to some of us).
 
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The conversation is starting to head in a direction that I am uninterested in.

Please don't comment about tourist vs pilgrim.

This thread is for the discussion of possible de-massing of tourism in Spain and the EU, and how that might affect the Camino.

@Lirsy @LTfit @Stroller and @Bristle Boy have the correct approach for this thread.

Thanks
Threads on this board, which start from a seed, are not under control of the person who started them. The conversation flows.

(Your interest in something that you don't exactly describe but leave to between the lines reading may not be what other posters are interested in. You started out by bringing up something that is inherently political--governmental policies--and invited discussion of whether similar issues are being discussed in another place, and then you said you didn't want political comments. Yet governance is inherently political.)

Backpackers also spend money, many of them support the local economy in such ways as shopping for necessities in locally owned farmacias, eating and drinking in locally owned bars and restaurants, and also paying the tourist entry fee as applicable in the various museums and churches. Not to mention the little donation that drops into the offering box when going into a church to get a sello.

Whenever things stop being blocked and people return to the Path, a lot of folks will also be supporting the local economies even more strongly by staying in pensiones, etc., instead of the group shelters when possible, just to be sensible. These pensiones, casas rurales, and small hotels are generally also locally owned.

Many, many people make an honest living and support their families by providing various products and services to visitors to their areas. Saying that there should be fewer visitors is really saying that these people should not be allowed to make an honest living by these activities. Who among us has not benefited by the presence of museums, restaurants, and so on that could not survive at all without the numbers of pilgrims and tourists that come over time?
 
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this will be my first. Norte September 2018.
Thanks for this informational comment.

It wasn't my intention to criticise the Camino but to understand if there was a conversation/plans to "de-mass" it for foreigners.

As repeat pilgrims, we sometimes grumble about how it has become more commercialised and over crowded. I was wondering if in Spain, people (other than those that profit from its commercialisation) grumble about the crowds and the changes that have occurred as it has become more commercialised or if the increasing numbers are always seen positively?

Your comments about how the Camino pilgrims contribute economically to small villages, sometimes with no other economic base, is very relevant. Thank you again.
There are many routes that are not so comercialized.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I think (and I may be wrong) it is about a potential reset and how it may affect the camino.
I am sure that governments (and individuals) are looking at the mass tourism industry and whether it is sustainable (on many levels) .
If you accept we are all tourists in a way would a micro management of one sector of tourism affect another.
This could have benefits to businesses relying on the camino (and to the camino itself) but could also be of detriment to the camino in other ways.
I do not profess to have an answer to the question but realise a change in one area can also change another.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
this will be my first. Norte September 2018.
"The nine-month shepherding course includes nearly 500 hours of online training and one weekend a month of hands-on instruction set against the mountains and deep valleys of Cantabria, and after registration got under way earlier this year, 265 applications came pouring in. “It was a very pleasant surprise,” said Pacheco. “It’s clear that we’re meeting a need that exists in society.”

500 hours of training for sheep shepherding !!??
I would venture that it includes at least a modicum of veterinary science. Feed management. Lambing. High solo camping skills including injury remediation etc... your comment seems a bit denigrating. 500 hours is not much time, 12 weeks for what could be a lifetime of experience, with ??? Mentor ship.
 
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Camino Chrissy

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Threads on this board, which start from a seed, are not under control of the person who started them. The conversation flows.
I often share the same opinion as you in general. Sometimes a mod intervenes to help get the thread back on track though, and it's usually a good thing.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude those opinions. Like I said, I am more interested in if the conversation is happening than the pros and cons of an actual change.
I think that there is no equivalent between being a peregrino and "back packer type tourists". The accommodation may be similar but the mindset and intention of peregrinos is very different. I live in Andalucia in Spain and survive by running a B&B style village house. In our region after the 2008 financial collapse the construction sector has not recovered and after a year of Covid 19 the Iberico pig industry has hit the skids. This leaves Tourism as the only resource available here. Having experienced the crowds around the Alcazar in Seville and on the Camino Mozarabe the zoo of people around the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba I understand the rational behind the thinking in Barcelona and Venice but for a huge portion of the population of Spain it is not feasible to be too picky about the clients that they get.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
I would venture that it includes at least a modicum of veterinary science. Feed management. Lambing. High solo camping skills including injury remediation etc... your comment seems a bit denigrating. 500 hours is not much time, 12 weeks for what could be a lifetime of experience, with ??? Mentor ship.
Not denigrating at all was my intention when I asked because I shepherded 6 cows and 3 sheep in Galicia untill I was 15.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2007
Hmmm, I am a little confused. I am not seeking information about pilgrimage during or after a pandemic.

I am interested in how Spain plans to recover its tourism industry and how this might or might not affect the Camino.

Thanks for your contribution anyway 🙂
Hi Doughnut NZ,
As a Scot and newby, I would have thought the general demographics of the pilgrim population would discourage significant change! We are a predominantly moderate income, time rich, group! Probably the 'new' demographic countries may be looking for, albeit in other areas (coastal) of their country. I suspect, and will find out shortly, (I hope) that we do spend a good amount on our journey, and agree with others that our money is being added to local otherwise, generally, low income areas.
So, if a reset was planned, and affected Camino, what would be the advantage? Yes a small population of travellers, but taking the income away I wouldn't see as beneficial at local or national level.
 
D

Deleted member 56069

Guest
There are a number of 'trigger words' that have arisen during the time of Covid, one for me is the word 'reset'. I abhor that word and all it implies. There is more than just an idle conversation happening since world wide tourism has been devastated among many that maybe no travel or tourism isn't such a bad thing.

Certainly one result of Covid has been a substantial reduction in carbon emissions because of greatly reduced travel. With skirting politics as best I can, many of the 'green' persuasion think this is something that should be maintained going forward.

The idea is that one would have to justify all future air travel as being necessary or what other offsets would one have to make in their daily impact on earth to balance off an international flight.

The suggestion of green taxes or fees placed on flight or a 'head tax' on travelers would only affect less affluent travelers, not the rich or so called 'elite.'

My personal feelings run rather strongly opposing this notion.
As the saying goes...'Never let a good crisis go to waste.'
 
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slrivers

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2019)
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude those opinions. Like I said, I am more interested in if the conversation is happening than the pros and cons of an actual change.
What do you mean by upmarket? I'm not familiar with this term.
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
I think 🤔 there is a cost that the tourists doesn't pay when traveling. This cost refer is general to the impact of traveling, pollution erosion impact on population .

If I take a cruse ship when I travel all the waist that I am creating on board including poop goes to the ocean! The tourist should pay for correcting this problem or avoid traveling until this problem is solve.


If I travel I should pay for the pollution I am creating. If I go to Venise i should pay a tax for invading the tranquility of the people staying there. Having a tax would reduce the number of people traveling and creating a better harmony for the population of Venise.

All in all i think that all traveling people should pay for the pollution they are creating and also their impact on the population and the erosion we are creating.

In other words the cost to travel to Spain should also include a daily cost for the pollution erosion and impact on cities and village that we are traveling into.

These money could be use by the village for their population well been and or infrastructure.

The country of Boutan did this exercise and if you want to enter the country you will pay 250$ US for each day you a visiting...

This example may sound extreme but each country should do a similar exercise soon.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I think 🤔 there is a cost that the tourists doesn't pay when traveling. This cost refer is general to the impact of traveling, pollution erosion impact on population .

If I take a cruse ship when I travel all the waist that I am creating on board including poop goes to the ocean! The tourist should pay for correcting this problem or avoid traveling until this problem is solve.


If I travel I should pay for the pollution I am creating. If I go to Venise i should pay a tax for invading the tranquility of the people staying there. Having a tax would reduce the number of people traveling and creating a better harmony for the population of Venise.

All in all i think that all traveling people should pay for the pollution they are creating and also their impact on the population and the erosion we are creating.

In other words the cost to travel to Spain should also include a daily cost for the pollution erosion and impact on cities and village that we are traveling into.

These money could be use by the village for their population well been and or infrastructure.

The country of Boutan did this exercise and if you want to enter the country you will pay 250$ US for each day you a visiting...

This example may sound extreme but each country should do a similar exercise soon.
The potential other side of your tariffs/taxes is fewer tourist and less revenue for businesses that rely on tourism. Tourism fortunately or unfortunately is a prime revenue source for many countries/cities. It is also a more recent revenue stream. In the past tourist were invaders/conquerors and they were in search of anything the current residents had and they were not paying?

Somewhere in between is the answer as we keep on improving our carbon footprints.

I would be interested to know the impact of the Bhutan tariff on tourism. ie:#'s of tourist, tourism $'s etc.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Year of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I think 🤔 there is a cost that the tourists doesn't pay when traveling. This cost refer is general to the impact of traveling, pollution erosion impact on population .

If I take a cruse ship when I travel all the waist that I am creating on board including poop goes to the ocean! The tourist should pay for correcting this problem or avoid traveling until this problem is solve.


If I travel I should pay for the pollution I am creating. If I go to Venise i should pay a tax for invading the tranquility of the people staying there. Having a tax would reduce the number of people traveling and creating a better harmony for the population of Venise.

All in all i think that all traveling people should pay for the pollution they are creating and also their impact on the population and the erosion we are creating.

In other words the cost to travel to Spain should also include a daily cost for the pollution erosion and impact on cities and village that we are traveling into.

These money could be use by the village for their population well been and or infrastructure.

The country of Boutan did this exercise and if you want to enter the country you will pay 250$ US for each day you a visiting...

This example may sound extreme but each country should do a similar exercise soon.
Many countries have fees and charges (dockage fees, entry/exit fees, tourism taxes, Econ development taxes, etc.) for just these costs, not to mention sales taxes, VAT, petrol taxes, tourism licenses,etc. How it is used is the real issue, most jurisdictions accumulate it in and spend it from a general fund not accountable to the source of funds or related to the cost underlying the source. One unresolved issue is the cost to cleanup non-jurisdictional damage...offshore dumping, carbon discharge outside country boundaries, etc.
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
The potential other side of your tariffs/taxes is fewer tourist and less revenue for businesses that rely on tourism. Tourism fortunately or unfortunately is a prime revenue source for many countries/cities. It is also a more recent revenue stream. In the past tourist were invaders/conquerors and they were in search of anything the current residents had and they were not paying?

Somewhere in between is the answer as we keep on improving our carbon footprints.

I would be interested to know the impact of the Bhutan tariff on tourism. ie:#'s of tourist, tourism $'s etc.

Ultreya,
Joe

Bouthan touristic policy is on the high side. Perhaps each country should do their exercise base on their respective evaluation.
 
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Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Threads on this board, which start from a seed, are not under control of the person who started them. The conversation flows.
It does indeed and all users benefit from the diversity within this community. It is, however, helpful for everyone if the discussion stays on topic.

This thread is a question although some people seem to have misinterpreted that as a statement.

The question of if Spain (and the EU because Spain is part of the EU) is starting to have conversations about how Spain manages its visitors has, I think, largely been answered in the positive. Yes, within Spain and the EU people are thinking about how the recovery from Covid-19 presents an opportunity to build back better.

Of course, as this is a conversation, there are people within Spain and the EU with differing opinions. That is as it should be.

Some early posters seemed unable to see how the policies that may flow from the changes that may well occur would affect the Caminos and so I provided an example of a policy change that is being considered by the EU so that people could see how the Caminos and pilgrims might be affected, even though pilgrims on the Caminos are a very small portion of Spain's visitors.

This is not a thread for people to expose their political opinions, particularly people from outside the EU on if they think Spain and the EU should make changes.

I have not presented my own political opinions and I expect others to be respectful and to do the same.

I have provided examples of proposed changes so that the question is easier to understand but these examples are real examples and are not my opinions.

There is a place for opinions in this thread and that comes from considering what changes might be implemented and if implemented how those changes might affect pilgrims and if affected, how these affects might be mitigated.
(Your interest in something that you don't exactly describe but leave to between the lines reading may not be what other posters are interested in. You started out by bringing up something that is inherently political--governmental policies--and invited discussion of whether similar issues are being discussed in another place, and then you said you didn't want political comments. Yet governance is inherently political.)

Backpackers .... sello.

Whenever things stop being blocked and people return to the Path, a lot of folks will also be supporting the local economies even more strongly by staying in pensiones, etc., instead of the group shelters when possible, just to be sensible. These pensiones, casas rurales, and small hotels are generally also locally owned.
No one has suggested anything other than supporting Spanish people.
Many, .... time?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Ah, Bhutan where the residents are “required” to wear “traditional clothing” and cultivate by “traditional” methods. Ox ploughs, dung-carts and sickles at harvest. That’ll go big in the new Spain. Perhaps €250 a day for a Camino that comes complete with authentic sackcloth and all the Orujo you can manage will thin out the crowds a bit - especially those sensitive to the glare of the permanent peasants - but realistically, those who can bounce half a monkey a day won’t even think that that’s kind of odd. I just hope that no one from Tourismo Galicia is reading this thread. I really don’t want them getting anymore ideas of how they could “improve” the Camino
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Tourism Galicia doesn't count pilgrims. They only count tourists, and the more the better. Success is not counted in smiles and successfully achieved Compostelas, it is counted in Euros and airplane and hotel bookings. I do not think anyone along the Camino is considering any kind of "reset." They are hoping they can hang on until pilgrims start trickling in again. Many were doing very well indeed before the Covid happened, they'll be very glad to just put things back the way they were, thank you!

That said, there is a trend to the "upmarket," in that donativo and budget-priced, old-school accommodations run by municipalities and non-profits are staying closed to "give the businessmen a chance." Which is a sweet way to just eliminate the high-maintenance, low-profit-margin places when the time comes to reopen it all. I tremble to see what will happen in coming months. The well-heeled will still have their hotel-style albergues, but the scruffy backpacker types? They're expendable.

Let's hope the marketplace is not allowed to overwhelm the kindness and grace-based economy that makes the Camino unique in the world. Without the volunteers and the donativos, the Camino is just another hiking trail.
 

mguillen

MGuillen
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude those opinions. Like I said, I am more interested in if the conversation is happening than the pros and cons of an actual change.
I asked my friend who lives in Cadiz and she said Spaniards (she’s on Spanish pilgrim forum) are looking at 2022.
 
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good_old_shoes

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
To be honest, I don‘t really understand the question here.


Making the Camino a rich people only thing would just damage the Camino itself as well as the local business, why would anyone want that? It makes no sense. The Camino is not Venice and not Bhutan and not New Zealand. That‘s comparing apples and oranges.


The problem with upmarket tourists is, that they demand to get what they pay for. I‘m quite sure a mattress in a dorm and a pilgrim menu in a bar are not on their list, but those are what's helping the economy of the rural villages along the Caminos?

The upmarket tourist is more likely to stay in expensive places owned by other rich people from outside of town (while the locals maybe are allowed to work there for a minimum wage, if they‘re "lucky"...). Locally owned small tiendas and bars with only basic stuff would probably close, as well as traditional albergues (which are kind of the beating heart of the Camino).


The usual pilgrim spends their money directly in small, locally owned places. The money goes directly to local business and people. Even with rising pilgrim numbers in the last years before Covid, I don‘t really see how that‘s a bad thing?


Also, pilgrims stick to certain routes, they don‘t trample their own paths through national parks. Often they sleep in already existing, renovated, sometimes even historical village buildings along the way, of which some probably would be in ruins today without the pilgrims (in contrast to classic mass tourism like on the Spanish south coast, where the eyesore hotel towers are where most budget travellers stay). Travel by walking means low carbon footprint, especially for all those EU citizens travelling to/from home by train or bus. Pilgrims often even take cold showers and sleep in unheated rooms, bring their own sleeping bag, so less linen washing required. Maybe I‘m missing something here, but that seems quite environment friendly to me already?


Finally, the beauty about the Camino is that it‘s open to everyone. If you make it accessible to the rich hotel sleepers only, that would basically be the end of it. Nice landscape photos in a brochure, but missing its soul.


Now, who would benefit from that?
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
That said, there is a trend to the "upmarket," in that donativo and budget-priced, old-school accommodations run by municipalities and non-profits are staying closed to "give the businessmen a chance." Which is a sweet way to just eliminate the high-maintenance, low-profit-margin places when the time comes to reopen it all. I tremble to see what will happen in coming months. The well-heeled will still have their hotel-style albergues, but the scruffy backpacker types? They're expendable.

Let's hope the marketplace is not allowed to overwhelm the kindness and grace-based economy that makes the Camino unique in the world. Without the volunteers and the donativos, the Camino is just another hiking trail.

Amen.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
I think there is an assumption that the question is about a reduction in tourism whereas it is about a reset and how a change in one area could affect another.
Nothing I've seen in this thread or in all the debate across the Internet suggests that "Reset" as currently formulated is a discussion of new beginning. The discussion is about reduction; limitation; constraint; control. Though no one, outside of the airline and global travel industries seems to be engaged in the discussions on tourism. Certainly absent are the Greek Taberna operators; the Mum & Pop Tiendas; the Kenyan Beach boys, or the solo operators in Hospitality anywhere whose livelihoods are dependant to one degree or another on tourism and even Pilgrimage (and I will continue to distinguish between the two).

Students of Deep-Thought might enjoy this link: https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/

Cynics, anarchists and grumpy-old-pagans might prefer this one:
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Nothing I've seen in this thread or in all the debate across the Internet suggests that "Reset" as currently formulated is a discussion of new beginning. The discussion is about reduction; limitation; constraint; control. Though no one, outside of the airline and global travel industries seems to be engaged in the discussions on tourism. Certainly absent are the Greek Taberna operators; the Mum & Pop Tiendas; the Kenyan Beach boys, or the solo operators in Hospitality anywhere whose livelihoods are dependant to one degree or another on tourism and even Pilgrimage (and I will continue to distinguish between the two).

Students of Deep-Thought might enjoy this link: https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/

Cynics, anarchists and grumpy-old-pagans might prefer this one:
I think it does in the title of the thread.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
I think it does in the title of the thread.
I thought the original question was answered some time ago. The answer was "no". At present that discussion is not occurring in Spain so far as anyone is aware. Its occurring on a global level, particularly in the context of Climate Change, wealth inequality, de-democratisation and the seeming advance of right-leaning Populist governments in much of Western Europe and elsewhere. None of which are topics suitable for discussion on this forum.

Now, I'm going to award myself some points before one of the other Mods feels obliged to and put down the mouse and walk away from the key-board.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
tour-ist (toorest)

A person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure. (Yeah, that about sums up a pilgrim!).
 

mguillen

MGuillen
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Tourism represents about 20% of Aotearoa New Zealand's exports, a significant proportion. Spain has perhaps an even greater proportion.

In ANZ now, like many other countries, there is close to nil international tourists. As a result local tourists are enjoying visiting popular parts of ANZ without huge crowds of overseas tourists.

This, in turn, has sparked a conversation within ANZ about if this is a good time for a tourism reset. Instead of hoards of backpackers and wild camping van tourists we are wondering if going more upmarket might be good for ANZ overall and might enable a greater contribution to lowering carbon outputs by reducing tourist numbers and journeys.

I am wondering if a similar conversation is going on within Spain at the moment?

If it is then this is very relevant to future Camino planning as most current pilgrims are closer to being backpackers than they are to upmarket visitors.

I am not interested in discussing the pros and cons of backpackers vs up-market tourists. Nor am I interested in your political opinions. So, possibly this question needs to be answered by people who live in Spain.

If there is currently a wider trans-EU conversation in this vein then perhaps residents of other EU countries could answer if their own country is having this conversation.

As an example, pre-Covid there were conversations in places like Barcelona about the possibility of limiting tourist numbers and certainly there were similar conversations in Venice, Italy.

What say you, Spanish and possibly EU residents?

Obviously, people whose current business model is based around large numbers of backpacker type tourists are going to have strong opinions and so, if possible, I would like to exclude th
 

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