The Portuguese way represents almost 30% of the pilgrims who reach Santiago de Compostela. What can Portugal do to increase this number and beneficiary of their passage through the country?
Well, first of all, the promotion work. The more the path is spread, the more it will be known and the more people will be able to reach it. Then the Galician government did: improve infrastructure. It is very important that all routes have tourist infrastructure, that pilgrims know that at all times they have a place to rest, to sleep if they want to stay. Signage is also very important. It is a battle that took place in Galicia for many years. It has to be the same everywhere. And investment. The Junta de Galicia has earmarked 80 million euros this year to invest in the path, promotion and maintenance. But in recent years Portugal has realized the importance of the road to Santiago.
What can you expect from this Xacobeo [ano santo], which for the first time, because of the pandemic, lasts not just one year, but two, extending until the end of 2022?
Before the pandemic, our estimate, because that’s what happened in the last Xacobeo 11 years ago, was that Galicia’s GDP would rise by two points. So, we expect a very big economic boost. Something that will also help us to further boost Galicia on the world map. There are half a million pilgrims and we receive five million tourists. I am sure that many of these are pilgrims who once and then wanted to get to know us again.