The Galician tourism sector delves into the advantages of geothermal energy as a sustainable energy alternative
The increase in green awareness among travellers and the search for less environmental impact means that the sector is looking with greater interest at this type of energy system, which is clean, sustainable and efficient.
Competitiveness and energy efficiency were the terms most used in the day of improvement of sustainability in tourism enterprises held in Santiago de Compostela under the baton of the Galician Geothermal Cluster and the Galician Tourism Cluster. About thirty professionals came together in this meeting with the aim of approaching the advantages of the installation of this type of renewable energy, which has a wide margin for improvement and implementation in Galicia.
This was explained by the president of Acluxega, Manuel López, who highlighted with practical examples the great advantages of the bet for geothermal energy whose implementation cost is somewhat higher than that of other systems but with a very fast return on investment. But beyond the cost, the experts who participated in the conference highlighted the improvement in competitiveness and the environmental cost of betting on this green energy as an alternative to traditional ones. “Green sells more and more because society and the traveller is increasingly aware of climate change,” explained López, “so we have to value the implementation of these measures of energy efficiency, recycling and use of recyclable elements in hotels,” he explained. Gerardo Rodríguez, an EnergyLab expert, also had an impact on this aspect. He highlighted the increase in sustainable tourism and the objectives set by the UNWTO in the medium and long term for decarbonisation and improving the sustainability of companies.
Advantages of geothermal energy
In this sense, Eusebio Vázquez, professor at the Uvigo, focused his intervention on an approach to the basic concepts of the operation and installation processes of geothermal energy as an alternative to the rise in dispersed territories such as Galicia and where the land is especially suitable for the prospecting work required for the installation of heat pumps. The advantages of using this type of installation are many: no visual, sound and olfactory impact, clean, indigenous and efficient energy, which does not depend on weather conditions (wind/sun), highly efficient and with a very low maintenance cost.
The day was completed with practical examples of geothermal installations in Galicia, from rural tourism houses and hostels, such as Bela Muxia, to hotels such as Quinta da Auga, buildings, private homes or even business parks such as Porto do Molle in Nigrán, which has the highest geothermal power installed in Spain to date.
Very positive balance of a Holy Week that surpasses forecasts thanks to good weather
The community signs one of the best Holy Weeks in recent years, improving up to 10 points from last year’s figures.
In the absence of compiling the latest data, Easter this year signs one of the best data of the last five years, possibly reaching 85% occupation throughout the territory, from Thursday to Sunday, and signing occupations in some points up to ten points higher than last year, in which neither time nor calendar favored the arrival of travelers to Galicia.
In general terms, the occupation for the whole of Easter would remain in the range of 65% to 85%, although the impressions of the sector collected so far coincide in highlighting that last minute reservations encouraged the big days of the Week, improving initial expectations with an arrival of passengers that was noted not only in the accommodation but also in the restoration. It should be borne in mind that these first figures are contributions, as it is necessary to close the final figures, since Easter Monday was still a holiday in several Autonomous Communities.
“The occupation expectations that we handled were positive, despite the fact that weather forecasts did not give us very good weather for the holidays. However, more and more travelers are choosing Galicia as well and this year their loyalty was rewarded,” explained the president of the Galician Tourism Cluster, Cesáreo Pardal, who stressed that the good weather favored last-minute reservations, increasingly common.
Consolidated religious tourism
In the territories traditionally linked to Easter, such as Viveiro or Ferrol, many hotels hung a complete sign with an influx of tourists that also benefited the regions of La Mariña and Ferrolterra. In these cases, the religious tourism is already very consolidated, and year after year, it marks excellent results in these dates. It was the case of Ferrol, with percentages of occupation between 70% and 85%, bordering on the full on big days. Very good feelings also in the Ribeira Sacra, both Lugo and Ourense and occupation figures that will surely be in line with Easter 2017, especially positive for the province of Ourense.
Lugo achieved as a whole of the province an occupation of 93.3%, which meant a rise of more than ten points compared to last year. A Mariña and Ribeira Sacra were the areas of the province with more visitors, with an average of 95%. The key days continued to be Thursdays and Fridays, in which some establishments reached 100%.
In the city of A Coruña the occupancy rate was finally 86%, twelve points above the figure marked in Easter last year, with excellent sensations in the sector. In the case of Santiago de Compostela, which met expectations and reached 80%, the hoteliers especially highlighted the animation in the streets of the big days, which got the city to look with the atmosphere of the Fiestas del Apóstol and allowed some establishments to reach 95% occupancy.
In the province of Pontevedra the occupation would be around 85% overall but we must wait to know the final figures. In the city of Vigo, from Thursday to Sunday, the occupation was around 83.5% while in the city of Pontevedra was 85%, with a remarkable influx of pilgrims who choose the Portuguese Way.
In Sanxenxo the hotel capacity was around 65% and also harvested excellent results, with an average of 84.4% occupancy, which means that more than 31,200 tourists spent the night in this municipality, mostly from Thursday to Sunday. Many of the hotels in Sanxenxo hung the full sign and most had occupations above 90% while in O Grove marked around 90% on the big days of Easter, representing an increase of 20 points over forecasts. Finally Ourense grazed the full on the central days of Easter, leaving a global figure around 80% while rural tourism marked an occupation around 67% on holidays, and around 50% in the week as a whole.
As usual the origin of the travellers in Easter is mainly national, although in some points the arrival of international tourists is noticed. In this context it should be noted that also influenced the arrival of pilgrims who chose these dates to do the Camino de Santiago.
The Way of St. James grew 61% this Easter with a total of 14,000 pilgrims
More than 58% arrived on Holy Thursday, with peaks of more than 2,000 walkers per day during the holidays, according to the Pilgrim’s Office.
The Portuguese and Portuguese Coastal Trail are the second and third busiest routes behind the French Trail.
The Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago grew by 61.34% during this Holy Week compared to 2018, which had been celebrated at the end of March. According to data from the Pilgrim’s Office, between Friday and Sunday a total of 13,969 walkers picked up the Compostela. Most of them arrived on Holy Thursday. In total, in those four days, there were more than 8,000 pilgrims, which represented 58.41% of the total and peaks of more than 2,000 daily in days such as Friday and Saturday.
Throughout Holy Week, most of the pilgrims came from abroad. In fact, 51.6% of those who picked up Compostela between Friday 12th and Sunday 21st arrived from outside Spain, especially the Portuguese, Germans, Irish and Americans.
This percentage varied in the days of greater affluence. Thus, from Maundy Thursday, were the majority of Spanish pilgrims, which in those days represented about 52% and came mostly from Madrid, Andalusia, Catalonia or Galicia.
By itineraries, more than half of the pilgrims (57.72%) made the French Way. According to data from the Pilgrim’s Office, the second most traveled route during these days was the Portuguese Way, which was chosen by more than 23% of the pilgrims.
Also noteworthy is the Portuguese Coastal Route, which climbs one position with respect to last year’s Holy Week. In 2019 it was the third most traveled itinerary and represented about 6% of the walkers who made the Way of St. James during Easter. It was followed by the English Way, the North Way, the Primitive Way, the Silver Route and the Winter Way.
The Ocean Surfing Museum hosted the presentation of the Ferrolog Surfing Invitational
The Ocean Surf Museum hosted the official presentation of the Ferrolog Surfin Invitational, a sporting event of the surfing modality, long board, to be held between 10 and 12 May in Covas. The organizers of the event, Pablo Solloso, Remi Berhet and Carlos Pita, stressed the great reception that is having this activity which aims to place Ferrolterra in the center of surfing and the enormous international expectation that this meeting is awakening among fans of classic long board.
The event will take place between the beaches of Esmelle, A Fragata and O Vilar but, in addition, the event includes a significant number of parallel activities with which we want to contribute to energize the territory. Thus, there will be a shape room, an amateur competition, gluders exhibition and the presentation of the Manifesto for the Protection of the Waves. The event will take place in the premises of the Camping As Cabazas in Cobas (Ferrol).
This activity fits into the program of the Ocean Surf Museum, which opens its doors to surfing, not only local, but also regional. More information about the festival can be found on its website: https://ferrolog.org/
Rio Miño, the tourist brand to promote cross-border tourism
Identity is born for the cross-border territory linking 26 municipalities
With the aim of combining synergies and working from both sides of the river Miño, 16 local councils and 10 Portuguese in collaboration with the Provincial Council of Pontevedra have launched their own tourism brand to promote cross-border tourism, “Rio Miño”, with the slogan “A river, dous countries, great experiences”, and which will serve to “value all the riches and heritage of the territory of the Rio Miño”, said the Deputy for Cross-border Cooperation of the County Council, Uxío Benítez.
The brand responds to a vision “supra-municipal and cross-border tourism” in which each of the municipal councils and chambers that comprise the territory of the River Miño Cross-Border “are interesting in themselves and has much to offer, but when we add, we get a unique, original and different destination that puts us at the forefront of tourism today and makes us stand out from the rest,” explained Benitez. For its part, the president of the Provincial Council of Pontevedra, Carmela Silva, stressed that the birth of this mark is a historic milestone and stressed that the river Miño should not be a border if not a union, “we have an obligation to this generation and the coming to maintain this cultural heritage, linguistic, historical, economic and social that we receive and we must publicize.
The president of the Municipal Chamber of Vila Nova de Cerveira and vice director of the AECT Rio Minho, Joao Brito Nogueira, said that “the river Miño has what can be called a perfect symbiosis that deserves to be shared with everyone and this brand will provide more competitiveness, attractiveness and connectivity.
The Xunta advances in the dynamizing plan for the Galician enotourist sector
The Councillors for Rural Affairs, Economy, Employment and Industry and Culture and Tourism met with the representatives of the wine regulatory councils and the Wine Routes.
The Xunta consensúa with the sector the objectives to advance in the plan of territorial dynamization of the five denominations of origin of the wine. Under the maxim of cooperation between administrations and with the tourist sector, the aim is to improve the positioning of Galician wines as a whole, boosting the tourist offer in the production areas through the future strategic plan for territorial dynamisation of the five appellations of origin of Galician wine.
Galicia is known for its gastronomy and to link it to its territory is fundamental to economically promote these areas”, highlighted the Councillor for the Rural Environment, José González, who recalled that the wine sector involves more than 13.The Minister of Economy, Francisco Conde, also pointed out that the wine sector involves more than 13,000 viticulturists and more than 460 wineries that produce an estimated value of more than 206 million euros in the market, in addition to being the most exporting sector of the Galician economy.
In this area, he recalled that until next May 16 is open the first call for Business Factory Food, the accelerator of the agrifood sector that seeks to promote new projects that bring innovative ideas in this area.
Galicia Taste Strategy
In order to achieve these goals, the plan will develop a series of actions based on the development of socio-economic indicators, from demographic indicators to those related to employment or added value, among others. A study of the wine value chain and the tourism sector will also be carried out, as well as a detailed analysis of the natural, cultural and landscape heritage.
For his part, the Minister of Culture and Tourism stressed the Galicia Sabe Strategy, a new roadmap that will help define priorities and plan the activity of this type of tourism in the next four years. The aim is to promote a model of sustainable and responsible development through five strategic lines. These include the recognition and protection of Galician gastronomic culture; the stimulation of knowledge, training and R&D&I; the promotion of products and lines of work in food and wine tourism; the renewal of marketing and communication; and the creation of a governance model.
In short, as Román Rodríguez pointed out, Galicia Sabe will facilitate the rapprochement between the primary sector and tourism and will also serve to promote rural tourism with a seasonally adjusted model that is committed to the environment and the territory.