Santiago de Compostela is a city of renowned historical importance, based mainly on the Way that bears its name, on the university status that has characterised it for centuries and on the extraordinary architectural and cultural heritage that it houses. All of these factors have enhanced in recent years, to a surprising extent, its attraction as a tourist destination, especially for those who are objectively committed to the concept of quality.
Santiago City Council, with the objective of attaining the necessary parameters of quality and sustainability for catering to an increasingly more demanding public, has established continuous improvement strategies to consolidate the tourist sector. This sector is now one of the city’s biggest sources of wealth, in terms of direct income and also of the industry’s impact on the generation of value and the creation of jobs.
In parallel to Santiago’s inclusion in a Destination Quality Plan, Santiago City Council presented an application and a project to the selection of a pilot area for the Tourism Excellence Plans being prepared by the Ministry of Economy and the Xunta de Galicia’s Directorate General for Tourism.
In November 2001, the Ministry of Economy approved Santiago’s inclusion as a destination in the Tourism Excellence Plan 2001-2004, ratified in the cabinet meeting of November 8th, 2001.
The initiatives included in the current Tourism Excellence Plan (PET) amount to a total investment of 675 million pesetas (4,056,831.69 euros), which is jointly funded by the three public administrations, with a participation of 225 million each.
The State by means of the Ministry of Economy, the Xunta de Galicia by means of the Department of Culture, Social Communication and Tourism and, finally, Santiago City Council by means of the Tourism Department believe that improving the municipal district of Santiago de Compostela’s tourism competitiveness and its economic, social and environmental sustainability requires the following: improving the quality of the municipality’s urban and natural environment, increasing and improving its public services, adapting to demand trends and upgrading new tourist resources.
The confluence of the approaches and programmes of all the parties involved requires the coordination of their initiatives and the joint undertaking of projects, in order to attain the municipality’s Tourism Excellence and the optimisation of the resources employed.
On November 19th, in order to apply the PET, the different parties signed an agreement and agreed to create a PET monitoring commission, chaired by the Mayor of Santiago. This commission has the following members:
- Secretariat General for Tourism.
- A representative of the Government Delegation on behalf of the State’s Central Administration.
- The Xunta de Galicia’s Director General for Tourism and a functionary appointed to represent the Autonomous Region of Galicia.
- The Mayor and Tourism Councillor on behalf of Santiago de Compostela City Council.
- President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Shipping.
- Co-Presidents of the Hotel and Catering Association of Santiago and Region.
- According to the agreement, the INCOLSA municipal company (Información y Comunicación Local S.A.) is in charge of managing the PET.
The declaration of Santiago de Compostela as a Pilot Area for applying the Tourism Excellence Plan involves carrying out initiatives with the following objectives:
Increasing the quality of the destination’s tourist services.
Improving the municipality’s urban and natural environment.
Increasing and improving public spaces.
Improving public services.
Increasing, diversifying and improving complementary services.
Upgrading tourist services.
Creating new products.
Sensitizing and involving the public and local representatives in a quality culture.