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Record number of Compostelas issued this year - and its not over yet!

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TravellingMan2022

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According to this article, more Compostelas have been issued thus far in 2022 than the previous record set in 2019 when 347,578 pilgrims received Compostelas.
Halfway through Wednesday, September 21st the number was already at 348,230.
Anyone think the strong dollar is a factor. Just a a thought. European folks struggling to afford USA and staying in Europe, and USA folks getting great value here, Cost of flights and inflation not withstanding. I am not convinced myself (different demographic, most Camino folk seem relatively affluent, and the ‘land aspect’ is relatively cheap). It’s a thought though as exchange rates have a big impact on traffic flows. Are there nationality breakdowns year on year?
 
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Bradypus

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Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Anyone think the strong dollar is a factor. Just a a thought. European folks struggling to afford USA and staying in Europe, and USA folks getting great value here, Cost of flights and inflation not withstanding. I am not convinced myself (different demographic, most Camino folk seem relatively affluent, and the ‘land aspect’ is relatively cheap). It’s a thought though as exchange rates have a big impact on traffic flows. Are there nationality breakdowns year on year?
I doubt that the dollar-euro exchange rate is a major factor in overall pilgrim numbers. In 2019 pilgrims from the United States made up slightly less than 6% of the total. It seems unlikely that currency fluctuations would drive a big enough change in American pilgrim numbers to make a serious change in monthly or annual totals. If you want to look at annual or monthly statistics and nationalities then you can find a lot of information on the pilgrim office website: https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics/
 

TravellingMan2022

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I doubt that the dollar-euro exchange rate is a major factor in overall pilgrim numbers. In 2019 pilgrims from the United States made up slightly less than 6% of the total. It seems unlikely that currency fluctuations would drive a big enough change in American pilgrim numbers to make a serious change in monthly or annual totals. If you want to look at annual or monthly statistics and nationalities then you can find a lot of information on the pilgrim office website: https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/statistics/
Thank you very much for that. Appreciate the quick and informative reply. Wow only 6% that surprises me! I wrongly assumed much greater. Was just a hunch based on some work I did a few years ago communicating to UK consumers how much further their GBP would go in a number of countries due exchange rate gains which had good results! I will stand that thought down!
 
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TravellingMan2022

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Here's the page where you an download the statistics
Thank you so much I guess I had based my views on demographics on this forum which I guess was daft as those travelling further often need to be on a forum for support. My three Caminos were all
during Covid and mainly Italian, Spaniards, Germans and British folks. Of course very few from further afield. Thanks again!
 

Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
A forum member, @diegoromerosm, maintains a website where the data about Compostelas issued by the Pilgrim Office are presented in various graphs. In every year, the number of arrivals / Compostelas reaches its peak during the summer months. This August 2022 broke all records and shows higher monthly numbers than ever before, driven mainly by Spanish pilgrims - 20,000 resp. 15,000 more in August 2022 than in August 2010. Other data show that this is mainly due to the number of pilgrims who started in towns / walked on sections of the various Caminos that are close to Santiago or in Galicia only.

Source: https://solviturambulando.es/
By Country of origin and month.jpg
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Anyone think the strong dollar is a factor. Just a a thought. European folks struggling to afford USA and staying in Europe, and USA folks getting great value here, Cost of flights and inflation not withstanding. I am not convinced myself (different demographic, most Camino folk seem relatively affluent, and the ‘land aspect’ is relatively cheap). It’s a thought though as exchange rates have a big impact on traffic flows. Are there nationality breakdowns year on year?
US residents are relatively minor numbers overall. Spanish pilgrims are easily the most numerous by a very large number.

Other European residents are next with lots of Italians and Portuguese.

I am yet to calculate the final numbers but if we looked at pilgrim numbers as a proportion of population then again the Spanish would be first but interestingly, the Irish would be next. I do need to double check these numbers though.
 

TravellingMan2022

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Norte
US residents are relatively minor numbers overall. Spanish pilgrims are easily the most numerous by a very large number.

Other European residents are next with lots of Italians and Portuguese.

I am yet to calculate the final numbers but if we looked at pilgrim numbers as a proportion of population then again the Spanish would be first but interestingly, the Irish would be next. I do need to double check these numbers though.
Thank you. YesI had assumed the US would be much bigger numbers. Based on representation here! I should know better. Fascinating though. Thought UK would be higher but hey ho!
 

Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Just wanted to add that this website also keeps a record of the numbers of Compostelas issued every day. And of course also the running total of Compostelas for this year: yesterday they had reached a total of 351.573 Compostelas for 2022 so far. The 4th of August 2022 holds a lonely record with 4.978 arrivals on that day. The 15th of April 2022 - Good Friday ie the Friday before the Easter Weekend this year - also holds a record.

 
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Bradypus

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Too many and too often!
I find the distribution amongst the nationalities fascinating. Here are the top Compostela figures for 2019 - the last "normal" year before Covid and the extended Holy Year. Not surprisingly Spain vastly outnumbers other countries. Something that we might sometimes overlook being an English-language forum. As a Brit I tend to focus on the UK's representation compared to other nations. It raises so many questions for me. Why does Germany with only a slightly larger population send 3x the number of pilgrims? Allowing for the big difference in population the Irish seem to be 14x more likely to be pilgrims. Perhaps most remarkable of all to me is Korea - a country of similar size to the UK and sending roughly comparable numbers of pilgrims despite its distance and great differences in language and cultural and religious history.

2019stats.jpg
 

TravellingMan2022

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Norte
I find the distribution amongst the nationalities fascinating. Here are the top Compostela figures for 2019 - the last "normal" year before Covid and the extended Holy Year. Not surprisingly Spain vastly outnumbers other countries. Something that we might sometimes overlook being an English-language forum. As a Brit I tend to focus on the UK's representation compared to other nations. It raises so many questions for me. Why does Germany with only a slightly larger population send 3x the number of pilgrims? Allowing for the big difference in population the Irish seem to be 14x more likely to be pilgrims. Perhaps most remarkable of all to me is Korea - a country of similar size to the UK and sending roughly comparable numbers of pilgrims despite its distance and great differences in language and cultural and religious history.

View attachment 133453
Do any of the stakeholders in the Camino do any advertising. I.e. Spanish tourist board, Galicia, SdC? I know it’s a niche market for a number of reasons, so not expecting a 30 second advert during the Super Bowl but anyone seen anything?

Who actually ‘owns’ the Camino as an entity/ trademark and so on?
 
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TravellingMan2022

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Time of past OR future Camino
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I find the distribution amongst the nationalities fascinating. Here are the top Compostela figures for 2019 - the last "normal" year before Covid and the extended Holy Year. Not surprisingly Spain vastly outnumbers other countries. Something that we might sometimes overlook being an English-language forum. As a Brit I tend to focus on the UK's representation compared to other nations. It raises so many questions for me. Why does Germany with only a slightly larger population send 3x the number of pilgrims? Allowing for the big difference in population the Irish seem to be 14x more likely to be pilgrims. Perhaps most remarkable of all to me is Korea - a country of similar size to the UK and sending roughly comparable numbers of pilgrims despite its distance and great differences in language and cultural and religious history.

View attachment 133453
100% agree! It’s fascinating!
 
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Marbe2

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2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
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Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
any of the stakeholders in the Camino do any advertising. I.e. Spanish tourist board, Galicia, SdC?
The regional government of Galicia has a considerable budget for the promotion of the Camino(s) to Santiago in many forms, both within Spain and abroad.

BTW, they contributed € 700,000 to the making of Martin Sheen's "The Way" which was of course a relatively modest contribution to an overall budget of $ 3.8 million for this movie.
 
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TravellingMan2022

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The regional government of Galicia has a considerable budget for the promotion of the Camino(s) to Santiago in many forms, both within Spain and abroad.

BTW, they contributed € 700,000 to the making of Martin Sheen's "The Way" which was of course a relatively modest contribution to an overall budget of $ 3.8 million for this movie.
Ha thank you! That’s interesting and good to hear a sizeable promotional budget !
 
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Primitivo.
St James Way, England.
I find the distribution amongst the nationalities fascinating. Here are the top Compostela figures for 2019 - the last "normal" year before Covid and the extended Holy Year. Not surprisingly Spain vastly outnumbers other countries. Something that we might sometimes overlook being an English-language forum. As a Brit I tend to focus on the UK's representation compared to other nations. It raises so many questions for me. Why does Germany with only a slightly larger population send 3x the number of pilgrims? Allowing for the big difference in population the Irish seem to be 14x more likely to be pilgrims. Perhaps most remarkable of all to me is Korea - a country of similar size to the UK and sending roughly comparable numbers of pilgrims despite its distance and great differences in language and cultural and religious history.

View attachment 133453
I heard somewhere that there was a popular Korean film or documentary about the Camino that has inspired many of them to visit Spain and walk it.
 

The Austrian

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CF Nov 11, 2016
CF Oct 31, 2018
CF Oct 22, 2022
I find the distribution amongst the nationalities fascinating. Here are the top Compostela figures for 2019 - the last "normal" year before Covid and the extended Holy Year. Not surprisingly Spain vastly outnumbers other countries. Something that we might sometimes overlook being an English-language forum. As a Brit I tend to focus on the UK's representation compared to other nations. It raises so many questions for me. Why does Germany with only a slightly larger population send 3x the number of pilgrims? Allowing for the big difference in population the Irish seem to be 14x more likely to be pilgrims. Perhaps most remarkable of all to me is Korea - a country of similar size to the UK and sending roughly comparable numbers of pilgrims despite its distance and great differences in language and cultural and religious history.

View attachment 133453
Layman's opinion on my neighbors. And Brazilians, Koreans.
HAPE Kerkeling wrote the most successful non fiction book since WW II "Ich bin dann mal weg" about his Jakobsweg. That brought tons of Germans to the Camino.
Paolo Coelho did the same for Brazilians and Koreans.
I might be wrong, but......yeah, no I think that's it
 

Eamonrodden

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French, Norte, Primitivo, portuguese, via del plata, madrid
According to this article, more Compostelas have been issued thus far in 2022 than the previous record set in 2019 when 347,578 pilgrims received Compostelas.
Halfway through Wednesday, September 21st the number was already at 348,230.
Does compostellas equate to the number of people on the coming. I have walked a total of close to 800 kms so far this year on different Caminos yet I did not seek or receive a compostella. I know from experience that there are very many people doing the same. The last hundred is only a small indicator of the people on the Camino
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Does compostellas equate to the number of people on the coming. I have walked a total of close to 800 kms so far this year on different Caminos yet I did not seek or receive a compostella. I know from experience that there are very many people doing the same. The last hundred is only a small indicator of the people on the Camino
I think that most people do still ask for a Compostela. Personally I no longer do. My entirely subjective impression is that the number who do not ask for one has increased in recent years but that they are still a small percentage. Impossible to put an accurate figure on it though and the Compostela statistics are probably still the most reliable guide to trends.
 
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trecile

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PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Does compostellas equate to the number of people on the coming. I have walked a total of close to 800 kms so far this year on different Caminos yet I did not seek or receive a compostella. I know from experience that there are very many people doing the same. The last hundred is only a small indicator of the people on the Camino
You are correct that many more pilgrims walk various Camino routes every year than are reflected in the official numbers.
There are those who walk only partial Caminos and return (or not) in another year to complete it, and those who don't collect a Compostela.
But as @Kathar1na said its a good indicator of overall trends.
 

C clearly

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Most years since 2012
Who actually ‘owns’ the Camino as an entity/ trademark and so on?
Other people may be able to give a more definitive reply, but my understanding is that nobody owns the Camino as an entity/trademark. (I am assuming that certain things cannot be trademarked.)

There is a UNESCO designation for "Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain".

No person or organization has management authority over the "Camino" as such. The Camino passes through many jurisdictions which have their various authorities.
 

GraemeHall

Active Member
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Francés 2017/18; Portugués 2019
An anecdotal contribution....this year in April/May I walked about half of Via de La Plata - 500km from Sevilla to Salamanca. Back next year to complete it.
Observations relevant to this thread are that (1) it was quite crowded and accommodation almost impossible to find without a reservation and (2) I only met 5 other people from outside continental Europe.
 

JustJack

Active Member
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May 2023
A forum member, @diegoromerosm, maintains a website where the data about Compostelas issued by the Pilgrim Office are presented in various graphs. In every year, the number of arrivals / Compostelas reaches its peak during the summer months. This August 2022 broke all records and shows higher monthly numbers than ever before, driven mainly by Spanish pilgrims - 20,000 resp. 15,000 more in August 2022 than in August 2010. Other data show that this is mainly due to the number of pilgrims who started in towns / walked on sections of the various Caminos that are close to Santiago or in Galicia only.

Source: https://solviturambulando.es/
View attachment 133452
I find the various stats and discussions regarding how busy the camino is quite confusing and contradictory. In many places, and from many people, I've heard that May is one of the busiest months. However the chart above shows May 2022 as being well below the numbers in July and August.

Thanks for that great website link showing the number of arrivals in SdC. Is there a website that tracks how many people each day are leaving SJPDP? That would be really helpful.
 
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trecile

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I find the various stats and discussions regarding how busy the camino is quite confusing and contradictory. In many places, and from many people, I've heard that May is one of the busiest months. However the chart above shows May 2022 as being well below the numbers in July and August
That May and September are busiest months has to do with numbers of pilgrims starting from St Jean Pied de Port, not the numbers arriving in Santiago.

Pilgrims departing from sjpdp by month 2019 - Copy (1)(1).JPG

These large numbers starting in SJPDP create choke points mostly between St Jean and Pamplona. After that there are more intermediate towns and the pilgrim traffic spreads out.
 

C clearly

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I've heard that May is one of the busiest months. However the chart above shows May 2022 as being well below the numbers in July and August.
This is something that many people miss. We might as well be talking about two different routes, when comparing numbers.

The May and September crowds start in SJPP, creating the chokepoints near the start as mentioned by @trecile. Once those people spread out, things are much better. If you started somewhere else along the Camino in May or September you would wonder what the talk is all about.

The July and August crowds start in Sarria, filling accommodation on the last 100 km, but there are relatively few pilgrims on the rest of the Camino. The July and August Sarria crowds are bigger than the SJPP crowds, but there is more accommodation and services to supply them.

When you add them all together to compare months over the year, you lose that very important distinction.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I've heard that May is one of the busiest months. However the chart above shows May 2022 as being well below the numbers in July and August.
May in St. Jean, 700 klms and six weeks away from Santiago de Compostela is busy for the Eastern section of the Camino Frances. These people start turning up in Santiago in June.

The numbers walking this Eastern section are miniscule compared with the Pilgrims who start much closer to Santiago in July and August.
 

Kathar1na

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I hope that @diegoromerosm does not mind my copies of some of the interesting graphs on his website that are all based on the Oficina del Peregrino data. It is unfortunately not possible to link directly to the various graphs.

The graph below shows the numbers of Compostelas by starting points over the course of many years and months. You can see the peak years 2004, 2010 and now 2022, all of them Jacobean Holy Years.

Look at the green graph and the red graph that show the number of pilgrims who indicated Sarria and SJPP as their starting point. The numbers for SJPP are not or barely influenced by Holy Years, while those for Sarria and for Other (mainly other towns in Spain - marked in grey) clearly increase in those years. Note the typical behaviour patterns for those coming from SJPP with peaks in spring and autumn and from Sarria and from Other with their peak in the summer months. And the extraordinary increase for Sarria, and to a lesser extent for Tui, during this year of 2022!

I noticed that yesterday 3715 Compostelas were recorded. I believe that this is an unusually high number for a day at the end of September, even when it was a Friday where numbers are generally higher than on other days. My guess is that this is due to (Spanish) groups walking for a week or so.

(Click to enlarge)
By month.jpg

Source: https://solviturambulando.es/el-cam...cas-camino/#Estadisticas_mensuales_desde_2004
 
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Cynistra

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Frances (2019)
Portugues (2022)
I think the other thing that gets forgotten quite often when comparing numbers or thinking "but I don't see them" when it comes to Spanish pilgrims is that the vast majority of them just want to get the Compostela and do as close to the minimum distance as possible. So they'll start in Sarria, Tui or Ferrol and you will rarely see them before this. (And if you do talk to them, most of them will declare you absolutely insane for starting further out!).
I'd be quite curious to see a division of distance walked vs nationality...
 
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Shawn Herron

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That’s a lot of pilgrims. We’ll, I’m glad people are walking again! Being from the US, I was always eager to meet an American on the Camino, but I hardly saw any during my two month walk. I def saw many more Canadian pilgrims than US (I did walk the Via Podiensis, which is mostly French speakers, so the Canadians I met were typically from French speaking provinces like Quebec).
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I'd be quite curious to see a division of distance walked vs nationality...
Unfortunately the Pilgrim Office doesn't publish those figures, nor do they provide the raw data so that others could calculate it.

There are a number of different perspectives and comparisons that I am interested in. Perhaps we can start a conversation to allow access to the raw data?

I am working on one particular perspective at the moment with the help of a very knowledgeable friend. I am hoping that we have a very early version to show in a couple of weeks because we both get very busy after that and during our busy period there will be little progress.

It is refreshing that others like those posting in this thread are developing their interest in data and its presentation.
 
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CF 2014
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CdelN, Fin/Muxia 2018
CF 2022
Just wanted to add that this website also keeps a record of the numbers of Compostelas issued every day. And of course also the running total of Compostelas for this year: yesterday they had reached a total of 351.573 Compostelas for 2022 so far. The 4th of August 2022 holds a lonely record with 4.978 arrivals on that day. The 15th of April 2022 - Good Friday ie the Friday before the Easter Weekend this year - also holds a record.

Very interesting statistics, thank you everyone.
Pat and I received six of these Compostellas this year, as we walked three Caminos back to back. We arrived into Santiago after our third Camino,
( Primitivo), at the end of July, luckily! There were 15,000 European youth expected to arrive in Santiago the following week and that may explain the record 4,978 on the 4th August.
When we walked the Frances in May/June this year it was quite busy and there seemed to be more walking than when we first walked it in August/September 2014.
 
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Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Something fairly rare: some data from Logroño.

Their municipal pilgrim albergue welcomed 2,673 pilgrims during the summer months (July and August) and, in total, 7,243 pilgrims since the beginning of 2022. These figures "do not reach the pre-pandemic data but are approaching them little by little". For comparison: in 2019, they had 2,794 pilgrims during the summer months and 8,815 during January-August 2019.

BTW, only the parochial albergue and the municipal albergue are exclusively for pilgrims; according to Gronze.com, everything else, even when it is called albergue, is open to all travellers.

In general, the hospitality business of Logroño had an excellent summer 2022: 2% more guests than in 2019, with an average stay of about one and a half nights per traveller, i.e. one or two nights. Logroño, like Pamplona, is a popular destination.

https://www.europapress.es/la-rioja...tes-verano-antes-pandemia-20220927132155.html and numerous other news articles.
 
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Cynistra

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2019)
Portugues (2022)
There are a number of different perspectives and comparisons that I am interested in. Perhaps we can start a conversation to allow access to the raw data?

It is refreshing that others like those posting in this thread are developing their interest in data and its presentation.
I suspect there may well be issues with data protection - releasing aggregate data (eg male vs female) isn't usually a problem; but if you get the raw data it could very well be that there is (absolutely random example) only one female pilgrim from Iceland and now you can get their start point etcetera.
 

Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I suspect there may well be issues with data protection
The first thing that you see when you start to fill in the online application form for obtaining your Compostela is some blurb about the GRDP. And who would not know what that is ... Every applicant enters personal details such as telephone number, email, first and last name, sex, age and nationality. You can bet your last eurocent on this: there would be issues with data protection if third parties would want to have access to these data. :cool:
 
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Sunopo

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VdlP, Hærvejen
I think the other thing that gets forgotten quite often when comparing numbers or thinking "but I don't see them" when it comes to Spanish pilgrims is that the vast majority of them just want to get the Compostela and do as close to the minimum distance as possible. So they'll start in Sarria, Tui or Ferrol and you will rarely see them before this. (And if you do talk to them, most of them will declare you absolutely insane for starting further out!).
I'd be quite curious to see a division of distance walked vs nationality...
This comment surprises me because I have had quite the opposite experience, albeit on the VdlP and not camino Francés, many pilgrims I met were Spanish and for several it was actually important to begin from their hometown or on a camino near to their hometown (South or East Spain) and finish in Santiago. The completion represented a fulfilment of a pilgrimage, possibly with some religious connotation. To put numbers to my comment: My “camino family“ whom I met and walked with on and off amounted to perhaps 10-12 different people during my camino and 6 were Spanish. I would also say that 80% of the bicigrinos who passed me were Spanish.
Perhaps less Spanish on the Francés? Or the time of year makes a difference?
 

Pafayac

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2021: Le Puy-Cahors. 2022: Cahors-Puente La Reina.
I read somewhere that the lowest number of Compostelas was for the year 1972: about sixties delivered for all the year...
 
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Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Perhaps less Spanish on the Francés? Or the time of year makes a difference?
I am going out on a limb here with a bit of personal anecdotal evidence and a lot of gut feeling. The time of year must make a difference, in addition to the location/area. I walked the CF in sections and at very different times of the year, and the time where I noticed the highest proportion of Spanish walkers among the pilgrim population was during the days before Easter and before Burgos.

Very generally speaking, there may be a difference in patterns for Spanish peregrinos and peregrinas: a greater tendency to walk only sections, compared to the international pilgrim who comes from very far away; a greater tendency to walk during the summer months and around national holiday long weekends; a greater tendency to walk as a couple, as a family, as a group of friends, as a group from one own's parish. From my own experience, I know that when you walk with a friend or family member or a group of friends, you tend to stick more to each other's company; you also tend to want to chat in your common language and not in a foreign language (please, simply take this as an observation). In my opinion, all this may contribute to an overall impression that there are fewer Spanish pilgrims than there actually are.
 
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VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
…In my opinion, all this may contribute to an overall impression that there are fewer Spanish pilgrims than there actually are.
Do you mean to imply that the percentage of Spanish pilgrims across the Camino may be greater than the statistic for compostelas issued may suggest? (For instance 45% in 2019?).
 

Kathar1na

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Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Do you mean to imply that the percentage of Spanish pilgrims across the Camino may be greater than the statistic for compostelas issued may suggest? (For instance 45% in 2019?).
No, I would not know how to assess that. It was just an attempt to illustrate the personal impressions that we may have gained because we don't register the nationalities of all the pilgrim walkers around us but mainly those with whom we happen to interact or choose to interact. Or who choose to interact with us ☺️. I have to add that I don't stay in dormitories. This may also influence personal observations about the statistical composition of the caminantes population.

BTW, the website I mentioned a few times has totals of Compostelas by nationality since 2004. Of these, 2 million are held by Spanish nationals, followed by Italy (290,000), Germany (285,000), Portugal (167,000), USA (155,000) and France (140,000). Total number since 2004: 4 million.
 
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David with new Kit!

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2019 SJPP to Logroño
2021 Logroño - SDC
We arrived today, Wednesday, at 1300hrs and there were only 30 people in front of us. It was all very slick 🙂

Quite a bit different from last year when we arrived on a Saturday with over 2 hundred in front
 
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Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

Kathar1na

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Another 3000+ Compostelas on the last day of September - a Friday! A number that strikes me as quite high for this time of the year.

66,000 this September versus 45,000 in pre-Covid September 2019.

And unlike then, no complaints about long waiting lines at the Santiago Pilgrim Office …
 
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