El Camino de Santiago
Cover Photos: Autor: Peter Andren
Tourism, Society and Visual Culture TSM11109
Rory MacLellan Assessment 2 Student No. 40113810 Word Count: 3,488
Your own way
Table of Contents
1. Appraisal of the impact of the development of tourism, over a period of time, on El Camino de Santiago. 2. References. 3. Appendices: 3.1. Appendix 1: Historical Overview. 3.2. Appendix 2: Overview of the main authors that examined the relationship between pilgrimage and tourism. 3.3. Appendix 3: Collage Images. Image 1: Map of ways leading to Santiago de Compostela. Image 2: Codex Calixtinus, visual representations of St. James and medieval pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Image 3: The Scallop shell as a visual element of El Camino de Santiago's culture. Image 4: A conceptual Framework of the Study of Authenticity. Image 5: Different Marketing Strategies promoting El Camino. Image 6: Photos from tourists contributing to the formation and dissemination of El Camino's image. Image 7: Some souvenirs available in El Camino de Santiago. Image 8: 'Compostela' and Pilgrim's passport. Sample of stamps. Image 9: Promotional images from the film 'The Way'. Image 10: The five-stage stylized of El Camino de Santiago. Image 11: Example of negative impacts on host communities due to the tourist influx. Image 12: Example of how some business made themselves visible to tourists walking El Camino.
The Way of Saint James, namely El Camino de Santiago (from now El Camino), is one of the oldest religious pilgrimage routes in Europe (Morpeth, 2007). In fact, the adoration of St. James in Spain began when the remains of the Apostle were supposedly found in Galicia and buried in Santiago de Compostela; and so the site became a holy shrine that attracted around 500,000 pilgrims a year in the Middle Ages (Murray & Graham,1997). However, during the past fifty years, El Camino has undergone a process of economic and cultural commodification which has converted it into a desirable tourist attraction. In 2012, a total of 192.488 pilgrims from 133 different nations arrived in Santiago de Compostela, only 41.30% of which were driven by strict religious purposes (Pilgrims' office, 2013). It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore that the overcrowding of tourists is producing a trivialisation of El Camino, which in turn creates a conflict with part of the local community that considers the way a sacred journey. The aim of this paper is to examine the impacts of tourism on El Camino, specifically inquiring into the effects on its society and tourist sector. Due to tourist destinations largely relying on the creation of attractive images, special attention is paid to the visual imagery of El Camino. According to Callaghan et al. (1996:00), “Tourism depends on creating a vision in the mind of the tourist, an image and identity that is to be valued, sought after and ultimately paid for”. Thus, illustrative examples of the impact of tourism on the visual culture are given. This paper has been divided into four parts. The first part gives a brief overview of the destination and its reinvention as a tourist destination. The second section shows how the image of El Camino is collectively produced. Thirdly, socio-cultural and economic impacts on local community and tourism sector are examined. Finally, the main conclusions are drawn. Although El Camino still remains a valuable religious destination, today it is also an extremely relevant cultural heritage site as well as a prestigious tourist destination (Xunta de Galicia, 2012). This is the result of a painstaking process of rediscovery and interpretation of the territory: a place of memories and roots. As Alvarez (2008:1) argues, El Camino is a complex heritage site, like a “puff pastry in which every layer has its texture”, a place where religious, historic, cultural, linguistic, and aesthetics codes...
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