The Xunta and Google will collaborate in the dissemination and international promotion of the Way of St. James through the creation of a content channel that disseminates the cultural richness of the Way as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as advanced by the regional administration after the telematic meeting of the Jacobean Council, in which Galicia invited the other communities to join this project.
The channel will be opened on the Google Arts&Culture platform, Google’s star cultural project, which includes the creation of interactive exhibitions, the large-scale digitalisation of several Ways and a selection of monuments and cultural assets using Street View technology. Google is planning the start of the recordings under the coordination of the Xunta, through the Amtega and the Consellería de Cultura y Turismo.
Until now, there has been no virtual exhibition of this kind dedicated to the Way and the Jacobean phenomenon from its artistic, cultural and heritage dimensions. Its role as a vertebral element of Europe is thus transferred to the new environments that, as the current health crisis is demonstrating, are a privileged area for cultural use, consumption and enjoyment, as well as a meeting point for people and peoples with enormous potential.
Security and planning
In addition, the Xunta found consensus in its proposal to create a protocol of specific health measures for the Jacobean Route, which will be developed through the Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality (ICTE), with whom the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is already working. There was also agreement on the Galician request to extend the tax relief for the Holy Year throughout 2022, a measure which until now ended on 30 September 2021, and which would stimulate personal resources and multiply its repercussions, as explained by the director of Tourism of Galicia, Nava Castro, and the director general of Cultural Heritage, María del Carmen Martínez Insua, as representatives of the Xunta de Galicia.
They also announced the launch of a new initiative that will improve the communication skills in languages of the professionals who work on the Way. To this end, online conversations with pilgrims from different parts of the world will be offered, which, in addition to improving language skills, will make it possible to exchange experiences.
Those interested can sign up free of charge and obtain more information at www.caminodesantiago.gal/conversas-en-ingles. They must have the appropriate technological means, time availability that takes into account the different time zones in other continents and a minimum level of English that allows them to practice a conversation.
Analysis of the impact of the crisis on the Camino
From Galicia, the work in progress was presented with the aim of promoting Xacobeo 2021 as an element of economic reactivation through the creation of a group of experts composed of members of associations of friends of the Way, the Church or the local administration, as well as experts from the economic, cultural and tourist fields of the Community, among others. In addition, the Xunta is already working with the University of Santiago, through the Institute of Studies and Development of Galicia (Idega), in the preparation of a study on the impact of the health crisis on the Way, an indispensable tool to guide public policies.