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The study on the behavior and motivations of Pilgrims to do the Camino de Santiago

Peter Fransiscus

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All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#1
A study reveals that 52% of pilgrims make the Camino de Santiago for cultural reasons
Other reasons to make the Camino are personal challenges, interest in nature and the opportunity to live an adventure as a couple
PACO RODRÍGUEZ


MM
SANTIAGO / THE VOICE 06/15/2018 05:00 H

The study on the behavior and motivations of pilgrims to do the Camino de Santiago, carried out by the company Startup Santiago Ways, reveals that the number of people who make the Camino for cultural reasons is increasing in the face of a fall of pilgrims on religious grounds. According to the report of this company specialized in the organization of trips for pilgrims, 52% are moved by culture, and the religious motive has dropped 6 points in recent years, staying at 39%. Other reasons for making the Camino are personal challenges, interest in nature and the opportunity to live an adventure as a couple; and even, forget technology, get fit and live the atmosphere of solidarity.

The company pointed out that the number of pilgrims increases by 10% each year, and indicates that, in the last ten years, the Camino de Santiago was carried out by two million people. The arrival of pilgrims, in agreement with Startup Santiago Ways, translates into an important source of economic income for all the localities of the Camino, and they point out that in the rural area they increase up to 200% their economic income.
Joseba Menoyo, founder of Santiago Ways, explained that "the one who chooses the Camino de Santiago to go through a stage or the complete Way does it, without a doubt, because of the atmosphere he encounters", and represents an effort "and a challenge" personal for each pilgrim, wrapped in an atmosphere of harmony and respect. "

According to their data, pilgrims who choose to stay in hotels or houses of rural tourism outnumber those of the hostels. It states that 70% spend the night in hotel establishments and houses compared to 30% in shelters. Ensures that foreigners perform the Camino, about 120 kilometers, in a week; while Spaniards are more inclined to share stages over five years. At the international level, Ibero-Americans are the majority, followed by those from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Wish you all well , Peter .
 

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VNwalking

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#2
Thank you for sharing this, Peter.
And...
The study on the behavior and motivations of pilgrims to do the Camino de Santiago, carried out by the company Startup Santiago Ways, reveals that the number of people who make the Camino for cultural reasons is increasing in the face of a fall of pilgrims on religious grounds.
Well, maybe.
But it's worth noting that the survey is 'front-loaded,' since the company was using their own clients as the data base. If the story had been based on the numbers from the Pilgrim's Office, it would be much more believable.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#3
But it's worth noting that the survey is 'front-loaded,' since the company was using their own clients as the data base. If the story had been based on the numbers from the Pilgrim's Office, it would be much more believable.
I think the translated article is a little ambiguous on this point: although the survey was commissioned by the company it does not seem clear whether their data is only responses from their own customers or more general. I have just looked at the pilgrim office's own analysis for May and their figures suggest a rather different picture:
Motivation that pilgrims express personally.
Religious 16.706 (41.08%)
Religious-cultural 20.776 (51.09%)
Cultural only 3.183 (7.83%).
 
#5
I'm surprised at the statistic that only 30% of pilgrims stay in alberques. I thought it would be a lot higher. It seemed that most of the people we met stayed in alberques, opting for a private room of some sort occasionally.
 

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chinacat

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#6
I'm surprised at the statistic that only 30% of pilgrims stay in alberques. I thought it would be a lot higher. It seemed that most of the people we met stayed in alberques, opting for a private room of some sort occasionally.
Perhaps that’s why you met them :)
It surprised me too.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#7

The study on the behavior and motivations of pilgrims to do the Camino de Santiago, carried out by the company Startup Santiago Ways
Hmmm, you lose me right there.
Profit driven. Will say and write anything to attract more customers. try and tone down the religious aspect and try and make the Camino more secular and you may tap into a broader customer base. People hesitant to walk it because they don't want to be associated with anything religious, so the company puts out some surveys or statistics that may or may not be accurate. In a sense the company is saying "see, it is not that religious...come on in, the water is fine".
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
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Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#8
RJM, VNwalking, and Bradypus have echoed what my first reaction to that article is. It also hits me, as a personally drived opinion, that this information is part of the prima facie evidence that the idea of what a pilgrim and a pilgrimage is, is being eroded or diluted as to the purpose of being on any of the Caminos.

I ask myself, am I at fault for not wanting to think of those folks as pilgrims who are on a Camino route because they want yet another tourist or cultural adventure, or who are seeking to put another long hike under their belt? This issue is getting harder and harder for me to consolidate all of those folks under the terminology of "pilgrim" and "pilgrimage". I wonder if those terms are dissolving away as to their meaning as this is becoming far more heavily marketed for tourism and business-tourist-adventure-athletic purposes; where there is little, if any focus or even mention of the spiritual or inner retrospective elements for Camino.

What I am not thinking is being either biased or exclusionary toward those mentioned above, nor grilling folks as to their motives for being on a Camino route. That would be antithetical of the pilgrim spirit and all that entails. Nor am I thinking the folks mentioned should be prohibited from the Camino routes; although I wonder just how negative the impact to a pilgrimage it will become as the adventure/tourism business explodes.

I am just having trouble thinking that because one is walking a known pilgrimage route, that they are doing so as a pilgrim and are pilgrims. Is this a distinction without a difference, or is the bar now becoming set too low to not recognize that things are of a different category? It's my issue to deal with, but I needed to have an outlet to express that thought.
 

jsalt

Jill
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Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#9
am I at fault for not wanting to think of those folks as pilgrims who are on a Camino route because they want yet another tourist or cultural adventure
I walked my first camino as a “tourigrino”, i.e. I was doing a long-distance hike from Lisbon to Santiago, end of story.

BUT, three weeks in, in the middle of nowhere, I suddenly stopped in my tracks, and thought, Hang On A Minute, this isn’t a “long-distance hike”, I am on a pilgrimage.

My thinking changed, and I admit that I am still looking for God (I guess it’s why I keep going back).

But if it happened to me, it could happen to one in a hundred (thousand?) others, n’est ce pas?
Jill
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#10
My thinking changed, and I admit that I am still looking for God (I guess
My thinking has changed over the years too - though perhaps in a different way. When I walked my first Camino I was a committed Christian with a clearly defined understanding of my faith - a theology student and candidate for ordination. In the years which have passed since then I have lost that personal religious conviction but I have retained a deep fascination and respect for religious belief and practice and tradition. The loss of conventional belief has left an enormous gap in my life. Although I can no longer describe myself with honesty as either a Christian or a person of faith I am sure that for me pilgrimage is in a great part a search to fill that hungry God-shaped hole left in my life where faith used to be. So I sympathize with those who walk in search of something they find hard to define.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
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Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#11
I walked my first camino as a “tourigrino”, i.e. I was doing a long-distance hike from Lisbon to Santiago, end of story.

BUT, three weeks in, in the middle of nowhere, I suddenly stopped in my tracks, and thought, Hang On A Minute, this isn’t a “long-distance hike”, I am on a pilgrimage.

My thinking changed, and I admit that I am still looking for God (I guess it’s why I keep going back).

But if it happened to me, it could happen to one in a hundred (thousand?) others, n’est ce pas?
Jill
You are, of course, right Jill, and I understand that and know it occurs frequently with people. And please understand that, although God is part of my desire for pilgrimage, I don't see that as a specific requirement. It is more of the broad umbrella of looking for something in one's inner self rather than an exclusive focus on external experiences to the exclusion of the internal.

More so, there seems a dynamic shift toward the concentrations of those with a sole external center focus who are on a camino route in response to the 'marketing' and the business of those Camino routes which seems very different then before. So I don't know that such a focused tourist/adventurer is even considering or thinking of anything other than finishing an event or target. ????
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#12
My thinking has changed over the years too - though perhaps in a different way. When I walked my first Camino I was a committed Christian with a clearly defined understanding of my faith - a theology student and candidate for ordination. In the years which have passed since then I have lost that personal religious conviction but I have retained a deep fascination and respect for religious belief and practice and tradition. The loss of conventional belief has left an enormous gap in my life. Although I can no longer describe myself with honesty as either a Christian or a person of faith I am sure that for me pilgrimage is in a great part a search to fill that hungry God-shaped hole left in my life where faith used to be. So I sympathize with those who walk in search of something they find hard to define.
Thanks for helping me clarify what I was trying to express, Bradypus. It is that element of searching and contemplation which seems to be more absent as the tourist/adventure aspect is increasingly the predominant driver for being on a camino route.

Dang, I'm even having a hard time thinking that they are "on Camino", just that they are on a "camino route" for their own form of activity and motivation. That makes me sad to think that way.
 
Last edited:

chinacat

Active Member
Donating Member
#13
I believe, very strongly, in individual spiritual freedom.
I think/feel we all have a different inner sense of the divine and that we should be utterly free to follow that, in an inner sense.
I don’t often use the word ‘faith’. I experience what others call faith, as an inner familiarity, or certainty .... it just is .... and it has been with me since I was a child, for as long as I can remember.
I would probably be sad if the Camino (the CF?) became over-commercialised and very overcrowded .... a media-induced magnet for those who simply want another long-distance path to walk. But I would not want to make any judgements concerning their individual inner motives. I do not live inside another’s spirit, though I hope I live alongside them. And none of this would prevent others from following their own paths.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#14
I walked my first camino as a “tourigrino”, i.e. I was doing a long-distance hike from Lisbon to Santiago, end of story.

BUT, three weeks in, in the middle of nowhere, I suddenly stopped in my tracks, and thought, Hang On A Minute, this isn’t a “long-distance hike”, I am on a pilgrimage.

My thinking changed, and I admit that I am still looking for God (I guess it’s why I keep going back).

But if it happened to me, it could happen to one in a hundred (thousand?) others, n’est ce pas?
Jill
I think it happens to more than you would think, that is part of the beauty of the Camino.
 

VNwalking

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#15
I am just having trouble thinking that because one is walking a known pilgrimage route, that they are doing so as a pilgrim and are pilgrims. Is this a distinction without a difference, or is the bar now becoming set too low to not recognize that things are of a different category? It's my issue to deal with, but I needed to have an outlet to express that thought
There's a dissonance to be sure. And there is a difference, at least in terms of conventional reality: some people are doing different things than other people.
But as Jill says, if the lightening strikes a tourigrino can instantly become a peregrino. (Which is an excellent thing to remember when amidst particularly annoying tourigrinos.;) )

I would probably be sad if the Camino (the CF?) became over-commercialised and very overcrowded .... a media-induced magnet for those who simply want another long-distance path to walk.
In a lot of places it already is. But the good thing is that that doesn't really have to matter. The world (and the Camino) is what it is. Now what? We can suffer or not depending on how we respond to that.
 

chinacat

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#16
In a lot of places it already is. But the good thing is that that doesn't really have to matter. The world (and the Camino) is what it is. Now what? We can suffer or not depending on how we respond to that.
I thought I’d implied that :)
Note to self: become more clear!
 

VNwalking

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#17
Maybe you were clear, @chinacat . It's late and I could well be a bit dense as a result... ;)
 

C clearly

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Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#18
At the international level, Ibero-Americans are the majority,
I am not able to go back to the Pilgrim Office statistics right now, but my observations have not put Ibero-Americans anywhere near the top of the numbers on the camino. Maybe only in that company's business.

The article got more wrong than right.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#21
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
Or sloppy reporting or promotional reporting. I don't think this qualifies to be labelled as a "study". The source is a Spanish tour operator who specialises in Camino tours and apparently caters predominantly for Spanish speaking customers so it would not be surprising that Ibero-Americans, ie customers from Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia etc form a significant part of those who were "surveyed" or, more likely, merely gave feedback at the end of their trip and that's a major basis for this article. Just check out the profiles of the reviewers of the tour operator Santiago Ways on Trip Advisor :).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
#23
I'm surprised at the statistic that only 30% of pilgrims stay in alberques. I thought it would be a lot higher. It seemed that most of the people we met stayed in alberques, opting for a private room of some sort occasionally.
Personally I hate Albergues, I prefer to pay extra for a private room
 

Aurigny

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#24
M'yes. I had a quick look at Santiago Ways' website. They specialise in making arrangements for the hundred-kilometre set -- Sarria to SdC on the Frances, Tui to SdC on the Portugues. (Though you can, if you so wish, also book them for a five-day (!) hike from SJPP to Pamplona). If those are the cohorts they're surveying, I'd say respondents are precisely the ones to be least likely to be out there for religious reasons, and most likely to avoid the albergues.

Run the same inquiry on everybody passing through the meseta, or on one of the non-CF or CP routes, and I imagine you'd get very different results.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#25
I walked my first camino as a “tourigrino”, i.e. I was doing a long-distance hike from Lisbon to Santiago, end of story.

BUT, three weeks in, in the middle of nowhere, I suddenly stopped in my tracks, and thought, Hang On A Minute, this isn’t a “long-distance hike”, I am on a pilgrimage.

My thinking changed, and I admit that I am still looking for God (I guess it’s why I keep going back).

But if it happened to me, it could happen to one in a hundred (thousand?) others, n’est ce pas?
Jill
I too started my first camino because it sounded like a great thing to do following the adventure/achievement of my son the previous year. Had I been asked at the start if I was doing it for religious/spiritual/cultural reasons the answer would have been no. By the time I finished it was definitely religious. I had, somewhere along the line, become a pilgrim. But what is a pilgrim. Not sure I know. I have heard of people making a 'pilgrimage' to St. James Gate, Dublin, i.e. Guinness or to Bushmills to sample the best whiskey. So is being a 'pilgrim' a religious thing. To me it is but maybe not so to others. After my fifth journey this year on the camino, I did think the religious/spiritual reasons had diminished. I met Australian guys who were basically on a 'lads hike' enjoying the vino and the fun. Other guys from Canada and US who were just doing another long walk after the Appalachians and PCT. Given the number of 'pilgrims' in town each night compared to the numbers in the church for Mass and pilgrim blessings, I do think the religious reason has decreased. On my first and second caminos, the churches were packed and not just by Catholics, all religions were taking part. In 2016, the Jubilee Year of Mercy, very few of the people I met had a clue about the special year, surprisingly, most being Catholic. 2016 and this year, I was surprised at how few people knew anything about Santiago, city or saint, and the almost total ignorance of such a thing as the Holy door/Door of Mercy. I know it is not necessary to take part in services or have any knowledge of Saint and City. I just observe that since 2013, it has changed quite a bit in my personal experience
 

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