Etivity 4 – Research Question. Camino de Santiago for pilgrims and non-pilgrims

I’ve decided to write about the sustainable development of cultural route tourism and the Camino de Santiago in particular. As I’m interested in this route due to its cultural heritage, I thought that it would be interesting to research if people walk this route solely for religious reasons or if there are other motivations. While reading the literature I’ve asked myself the following questions: Do tourists who seek not purely religious experience from this route pose a threat to pilgrims and sustainable development of this cultural route? Do the increasing numbers of tourism inspire the development of accommodation and transport services and can it lead to a mass-tourism? Who are the main stakeholders and how they share responsibilities? All the above-mentioned lead me to the following research question:

What are the main challenges in sustainable development of  the Camino de Santiago as a route-based tourism for pilgrims and non-pilgrims (visitors walking the route for non-religious reasons, such as travel, sport etc.)?

Since currently I’m in Denmark and since we don’t have much time I won’t be able to conduct interviews etc. and my methodology would be to investigate already existing policies and guidelines for sustainable development along the Camino de Santiago route and identify major problems in the sustainable development of this route through literature and regional web-sites review.

Literature Review

  1. Ateljevic, J., Page, S.J., 2009. Tourism and Entrepreneurship: International Perspectives. Elsevier Ltd. Oxford.
  2. Collins-Kreiner, N., 2009. “The geography of pilgrimage and tourism: Transformations and implications for applied geography”. Applied Geography Vol. 30. 153-164. Elsevier Ltd. UK URL: Accessed on October 13, 2012
  3. Murray, M. and Graham, B., 1997. Exploring the dialectics of route-based tourism: the Camino de Santiago. Tourism Management. Vol. 18. No. 8. pp. 513-524. Elsevier Science Ltd. UK URL: Accessed on October 13, 2012
  4. Pedersen A. 2002. Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites: a Practical Manual for World Heritage Site Managers. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Paris, France. Accessed on October 13, 2012
  5. Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela webpage. URL: Accessed on October 13, 2012
  6. Prado, H.L. April 2005. Cultural route tourism: The Case of El Camino de Santiago. American University. URL: Accessed on October 13, 2012
  7. Raj, R. and Morpeth, N.D., 2007. Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage Festivals Management. An International Perspective. CAB International. Wallingford. UK

Preliminary structure of the paper

  • Introduction
  • Research question(s) + limitations
  • Methodology
  • Theoretical framework
    • Pilgrimage, route-based tourism, and its management
    • The Camino de Santiago route
    • The concept of sustainable development and management within it
    • Stakeholders and their role in sustainable tourism
  • Analysis + discussion
    • Sustainability issues along the Camino de Santiago routes
    • Tourism impacts (environmental, economic, socio-cultural impacts)
    • Stakeholders and their roles in the Camino de Santiago
  • Conclusion
  • Future Research

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