The Xunta promotes nautical crossings to travel the Camino de Santiago by sea from five Galician ports
Timetables and routes
The routes that leave from the ports of the Rías de Vigo and Pontevedra are intended to complement the stages of the Camino on foot throughout the months of August and September and are coordinated by the company Chárter Galicia.
The routes from Ribeira operate in August with various morning and afternoon schedules on Tuesdays and Fridays. The main objective is to do the same route that the body of the Apostle did, from the Atlantic Ocean to the cross of the park of Piedra Pateira, in Santa Uxía, considered the entrance door in the Xacobean Route of the sea of Arousa and Ulla. These routes are coordinated by the Council of Ribeira.
In September and October, the municipality of A Pobra do Caramiñal will coordinate a translatio with a sailboat route similar to the one offered these days in Ribeira. And also from August 24 will start xacobean routes of the sea of Arousa on foot that will connect the Island of Cortegada with the Camino de Santiago.
The program “O teu Xacobeo” has an investment of 4.7 million euros to launch 352 projects spread throughout Galicia for the promotion of Xacobeo 2021. Within these initiatives there is another linked to the pilgrimage by sea, as the Xunta will participate in the restoration of the Noamh Gobnait, a traditional boat that reached from Ireland the Galician coasts and its pilgrims managed to reach Compostela. The boat rests in the Museum of the Sea of Galicia.
Star rating and new areas of specialization in the new decree for the regularization of Galician campsites
New star rating
Among the main novelties, the new classification by stars in five categories stands out, adapting its regulation to a widespread trend in other autonomous communities and other countries of the European Union and replacing the previous classification that identified them as superior, first and second.
According to the criteria established by the decree, campsites with the highest number of stars must offer equipment such as outdoor swimming pool, playground, leisure room or games, washing machines and dishwashers or services such as restaurant, cafeteria, supermarket, entertainment programs or childcare services, among others. As a novelty, the classification requirements will now be set according to the number of places and not the number of plots, as was the case until now. From the Xunta clarify that “the services of the campsite will be better dimensioned taking into account the number of users to be a more accurate correspondence.
For the process of adaptation to the classification by stars, the regulations set a period of five years for current campsites, except in the case of those who seek a change of category or make substantial works of extension or rehabilitation that affect their classification, which will have the duty to adapt now.
Three areas of specialisation
In addition to the star rating, Galician campsites may specialise in three areas. In addition to the current green tourism campsite label, there are now the figures of thematic tourism campsites (sports, cultural…) as well as the specialisation of campsites exclusively for caravans and motorhomes.
Another new feature of the regulations is the possibility of stable camp facilities, such as cabins or bungalows, being marketed by intermediaries as tour operators.
The decree will have a direct impact on the more than 120 campsites registered in the Register of Tourist Companies and Activities (REAT), which total more than 34,000 places. This type of tourism in campsites is consolidated in our Community. It represents 9.3% of the tourist demand in Galicia and this year it grows at a rate of 33% in number of travellers.
Xunta de Galicia presents the balance of the activity of the hotel sector in the last decade
It follows that the number of Galician hotels grew more than 8% in the last decade, going from 839 establishments registered in 2009 to more than 900 that exist today. As for the total number of hotel beds, our Community already has around 55,000, some 2,800 more than ten years ago.
Roman Rodriguez explained that the increase in the number of establishments was recorded in most categories of accommodation, achieving especially a greater evolution in four-star hotels, which grew more than 30%, something that reflects “the growing professionalism of the sector and its commitment to excellence.
In terms of hotel demand (hotels + pensions) the number of tourists staying in this type of establishments increased by 23% over this time. In addition, the number of overnight stays made was close to 8.5 million, representing a rise of 13.7%.
In the case of demand for different types of accommodation, the report provides data for 2018, indicating that 69% were registered in hotels. In other words, out of every 10 nights tourists spend in Galician establishments, 7 are in hotels.
The holder of Culture and Tourism of the Xunta noted that these data reflect the “specific weight” of the hotel sector in our economy, as well as its ability to adapt “to the changes of recent years” thanks to its ongoing commitment to improving quality and competitiveness.
The four provinces today have more hotels than ten years ago, especially A Coruña and Lugo, with an increase of 13.3% and 10.4%, respectively, followed by Ourense and Pontevedra, with a rise of 9.4% and 3.8%.
The province of Pontevedra leads the classification both in the number of places and in the establishments, with 25,780 distributed in 407 businesses. In second place is A Coruña, with 18,357 in 280 hotels. For its part, Lugo has 6,285 places in 127 establishments and Ourense with 4,538 in a total of 93 hotels.
The study presented also includes the footprint of the sector throughout Galicia. Thus, close to 59% of town councils have a hotel within their territory, while if we talk about hotel establishments in general (hotels + pensions) the figure is above 80%. “This shows the great implantation of the sector in all Galicia, with presence in rural and urban areas, in coastal areas and inland,” he remarked.
These figures, as Roman Rodriguez specified, allow progress “in two of the strategic lines of the Xunta in tourism,” such as the decentralization of supply and the deseasonalization of tourism, “favoring the arrival of tourists at any time of year to enjoy the different values of each territory.
In which respects the offer by municipalities, Sanxenxo is what accumulates a greater number of hotel beds followed by Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, A Coruña and O Grove. On the other hand, the indicator that measures the number of hotel beds per 100 inhabitants shows that the municipality with the greatest offer in relation to its population is Mondariz-Balneario, due to “the spirit of thermal tourism”.
More income and more competitiveness
118m, an increase of 10.2% compared to the same period in 2018. If this trend continues, it would end the year surpassing the turnover of last year, when it approached 300 million euros of income, 38% more than there is a five-year period. “We have a more profitable and competitive sector, capable of generating more quality employment throughout the year and throughout Galicia,” said the conselleiro.
MAT Plan for the Improvement of Tourist Accommodation
In the press conference held at the Hotel Oca Puerta del Camino, both leaders also announced the resolution of the call for aid worth 1.2 million euros to 70 establishments to undertake modernization improvements, accessibility or energy savings in the framework of the MAT Plan for Improving Tourist Accommodation, to which the regional government is allocating more than 5 million euros in two years.
Agalber demands more care for the French Way and urges to regulate housing for tourist use
The association, which has the Sarrian Pedro Xosé Quintana as secretary, says that “there are more than 9,000 properties” dedicated to tourist housing and that they were discharged “more than 500 last month in our community. He adds that due to this situation “is alarmingly reducing the number of homes to rent,” stating that for that reason “the concellos do not grow,” in addition to being an “unfair competition” for the accommodation sector on the Camino.
As a solution, Agalber calls for “stricter criteria and quality” by the Xunta de Galicia and the Concellos. He maintains that it is “a sector that is not professionalized at all, with null guarantees for the users of these lodgings”. To it, the entity of shelters adds “the progressive discomfort of the communities of neighbors, stigmatizing the pilgrim up to dangerous limits”.
On the other hand, the association has shown its “concern for the decline of pilgrims in 2019 throughout the French Way” based on data from hoteliers. According to Agalber, occupancy figures in establishments along the French Way are “significantly lower”, with 10% less than in 2018.
They commented in their statement that the administration “must promote and campaign for all routes,” stressing that “the route with the greatest number of pilgrims must also be careful and be present in government actions.
The IV edition of Enbhiga will bring the province of Ourense as an enogastronomic destination closer to the rest of the world.
The initiative comes from the collective “Cociña Ourense“, an association of renowned chefs who develop their work in the province in order to promote their gastronomic culture and promote cultural exchange, and has the support of the County Council of Ourense and Inorde.
Manuel Baltar, president of the County Council, said in the presentation of this edition that it is “one of the most important events to be held in our territory in 2019, from the point of view of tourism, gastronomy and promotion of our province. He also wanted to highlight the role of “Cociña Ourense” and point out that “from the County Council we have supported this initiative from the first second.
Miguel Gonzalez, president of “Cociña Ourense”, explained that Enbhiga is a meeting open to the participation of all producers, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs who want to join this initiative. An event that was born in Argentina as a meeting place for gastronomic tourism professionals from both shores of the continent and that, after three successful editions, has demonstrated the enormous potential it has as a dynamic tool of the sector.
This fourth edition, to be held from 14 to 19 October in Ourense, will expand its audience and bring together more professionals from Europe and America. In fact, it is estimated to receive more than seventy chefs, journalists and tour operators from around fifteen countries.
The Enbhiga caravan will visit regions such as Valdeorras, Terra de Trives, Limia and Ribeira Sacra, and although it focuses on enogastronomy, the participants will be shown the monumental, scenic, thermal, cultural and leisure wealth of the province.
On 17 October the activities will be transferred to the provincial capital where “the cooks will be in the establishments of the wine area to work hand in hand with our restaurateurs and can exchange views,” explained Miguel Gonzalez. On the same day there will be a fair with stands for producers and artisans, as well as showcookings every half hour so that the people of Ourense can see what is being done in other countries.
There will be a day for a thermal and spa route, as well as a visit to the Vilamarín Catering School. Nor is it an opportunity for participants to do a stretch of the Camino de Santiago in the area of A Gudiña.
The president of “Cociña Ourense” affirmed that they will continue working in these dates “to define together with other municipalities interested in the project, a diversified calendar of activities that allows to add to the program new territories and proposals”.
Undoubtedly, Enbhiga will be an opportunity to bring the province of Ourense closer to the rest of the world.
More than one hundred activities framed within the project “O teu Xacobeo” will take place this summer in Galicia
Under the name of “O teu Xacobeo” more than 350 dynamisation initiatives linked to Xacobeo are held in Galicia as a prelude to the next Holy Year and which seeks to favour the participation and decentralisation of the next Xacobeo 21. More than one hundred of them will take place until the end of the summer in different parts of the Galician geography.
Overall, the proposals reflect a wide variety of audiences (general public, youth, children, groups that need visibility, etc.) and themes (social events, cultural, sporting or that enhance the wealth of heritage). One of the objectives of the program is to reach the largest number of Galician municipalities, with special attention to the smallest, and to take into account the different Paths, which cover more than 1,500 kilometers throughout our Community, especially in rural municipalities.
As for the activities of the town halls, in addition to the dramatised visits (such as Padrón, Valdoviño, A Pobra do Caramiñal or Boborás, among others), there are outdoor projections such as the one that will take place in Pobra do Brollón; applications of augmented reality, such as the proposal of the Town Hall of A Fonsagrada; international seminars such as that organised by Catoira; scientific dissemination in the Vega with its Trevinca project: the way of the stars, or walks for schoolchildren in Rosal and Lalín.
These activities will be combined with gastronomic proposals, days of coexistence between pilgrims and neighbors, sustainable actions or that reinforce the commitment of the Way with the safety of women who do it alone, a proposal promoted by the Council of Ribadeo.
As for the projects presented by Galician companies and public or private non-profit organizations, there are proposals for the youngest, such as the creation of the Pequegrino credentials, to promote the Portuguese Way as it passes through the town of Tui. Also the Pilgrimage, with the impulse of the French, Primitive, North and Winter Ways with an application to the Trivial style for the schoolchildren, or routes to horse or in skates for the zone of A Guarda.
In the audiovisual field, young people can participate this summer in the making of the video “Your own way”, while in the region of Ferrolterra, O teu Xacobeo calls a pilgrimage for thousands of schoolchildren in the area. Another of the projects for the younger public is the Portuguese Way for boys and girls with professionals from different fields (painters, photographers, etc.) with whom the youngest will work the Way.
Activities aimed at different groups
In terms of the inclusion of all the groups that form part of Galician society, O teu Xacobeo finances proposals such as that of the Menela Foundation, which organises seven stages of the Coastal Trail that twenty adults will enjoy with TEA, while the Bata Association does the same but from A Fonsagrada, O Cebreiro and Tui, with the help of the application Applicae en el Camino, to help people with autism spectrum. Down Lugo also promotes experiences on the Camino this summer.
The musical programme of O teu Xacobeo includes the Festivaliño on the road, a caravan with activities for children that travels for 40 days through different Galician towns or the Barbera Fest in Baiona, with the impulse of the music made in Galicia. For its part, the Fisterra Film Festival, at the Semáforo de Fisterra, will feature artists representing the French, Portuguese and Silver Roads. Marc Coppey’s cello in Músicas en el Camino is also part of the summer programme or Efecto Campanada, which takes place in Guitiriz, Fisterra, Muxía, Chantada and Laza.
O teu Xacobeo also tells of many actions linked to the theatre. From the theatrical visits promoted by the town councils to representations such as those of La Barraca Camino a Compostela de Títeres Cachirulo, which stops in 14 towns along the French Way until it reaches Compostela, telling the adventures of the best known characters and the most salient pilgrims.
In the sports field the Xunta will impulate the Atlantic Coast MTB tour that will depart from Bueu and will run through the whole province of Pontevedra, in addition to a test car sport around the Xacobeo and the European Youth Championship 420 and 470.
Spirituality is also a theme of this programme, with meetings for reflection. This is the case of actions such as “We don’t just walk, we enjoy” or the one that will take place on the Island of San Simón, “Camino hacia isla interior”, centred on the Camino as an experience for introspection, with activities to enhance the heritage of that area.
The enogastronomic heritage of the Way concentrates such outstanding actions as the Compostelata project, promoted by Anfaco- Cecopesca, in which the walkers will stamp an accreditation in different localities of the French Way where they will taste Galician canned products. Gastronomy is also the basis for the project that aims to promote the Atlantic diet linked to the xacobean itineraries (Coastal Route).