Very interesting conclusions derived from a study conducted by Galicia Tourism and the University of Santiago de Compostela on the economic, demographic, social and environmental impact of pilgrims at the local level in Galicia. 

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Below an abstract of the main conclusions (extracted from Green Pilmigrage webpage) :

  • Pilgrims have lower transport impact! Conventional tourists spend an important part of their transport budget (approximately 23%), spending a low multiplier effect on a local scale. This expense is almost zero for the pilgrim on his route
  • Pilgrims have bigger economy impact than regular tourist! Pilgrims represent 2.3% of the total tourist expenditure in Galicia, but each pilgrim bears the same economic impact as 2.3 domestic visitors (differences in the average stay, average expenditure and the multiplier effect).
  • Pilgrims support the general economy! Each euro spent by a pilgrim generates up to 11% of additional output.
  • Pilgrims support employment! Each euro spent by a pilgrim generates up to 18% of additional employment
  • Pilgrim presence is curbing rural population decline. Pilgrims stay overnight in remote locations and support local services and facilities.
  • Local people welcome pilgrims! More than 90% of residents perceive positive impacts of the Way (for income, local commerce, employment, tourism), and they do not perceive negative economic impacts.
  • Pilgrims support local produce! In the pilgrim's consumption basket, the expenses on goods and services more intensive are highlighted (food and beverage services account for 61% of their expenditure compared to 26% in the case of non-resident tourists) and which are also produced locally (the pilgrim shows a greater preference for local products).
  • Pilgrim or Tourist? Pilgrims do not identify themselves as tourists. An important conclusion is that pilgrims do not identify themselves as tourists. Only a fraction (4%) identified as such, although for many others, in many ways its behaviour is similar to that of a tourist or visitor. But they are future tourists thanks to the experience of the Way. Around 85% of respondents affirm that they will return to Galicia as tourists.