Digital Religious Credential
The solution for pilgrims and managers of religious sites
The sanctuaries and religious enclaves treasure a heritage in which multiple aspects converge in addition to the obvious one linked to faith: identity, cultural, social, environmental, etc.
These form a corpus of attraction that is worth promoting, disseminating and managing efficiently, contributing to the expansion of their own values and meaning, reaffirming their relationship with the territory and society in which they are immersed.
Many of them also have historical pilgrimage routes, each with its own spirituality. An increasing number of believers and pilgrims want to discover and feel the religiousness of these routes. It seems appropriate to work to promote this heritage asset and to accompany pilgrims on their journey, encouraging their participation and helping them with whatever they need.
Any initiative in this sense conceived with a vocation to grow requires a minimum prior organisational architecture, which allows and enhances its development, operation and evaluation, but also the control and analysis of its growth in real time to enrich and improve, day by day, the link between the manager of religious spaces and pilgrims.
It is also necessary to take into account the economic, operational and maintenance investment required to implement this type of project. On many occasions, the initial expense and effort required compromise their viability and, therefore, sometimes they do not materialise.
Well, to provide a quick, effective and viable response to such initiatives comes the digital religious credential designed by the Spanish company Camino Aplicación, a technology consultancy specialising in the certification of pilgrimage routes, routes and religious shrines.
The project that the company has developed is designed to manage, promote and achieve the specific objectives of any religious enclave: to spread the faith, attract and help pilgrims and, ultimately, increase the number of visits to these places. It also allows for the incorporation of other aspects that are considered appropriate in each case. For example, heritage, cultural, etc.
The digital religious credential is the materialisation of this project and these objectives, through specific and personalised religious credentials for each religious enclave or sanctuary. This enables coherence and standardisation in the functioning at a global level and, of course, the respect and confirmation of the singularities of the different sanctuaries scattered around the world, differentiating them from each other and actively enriching the world heritage of the different faiths.
All digital religious credentials are accompanied by an Official Certificate of having completed the pilgrimage. The conditions for obtaining this certificate are determined by the manager of the religious space or path of each credential and are based on traditional and historical aspects assumed as customary by society. However, new ones may be added or modified for pilgrims' safety or other reasons.
Also, the project has a website associated with each religious credential, where pilgrims can access all the information available. They also have a private area where the different stages, stamps and souvenirs of their pilgrimage are stored.
Currently, Camino Aplicación has several of these credentials in operation and two in Spain: the Sanctuary of Covadonga through the Association of Friends of the Camino de Covadonga and the Camino de Santiago promoted by the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago. In both cases, they are the ONLY official digital credentials that exist today.
In the case of the Way of St. James, the digital credential coexists and maintains the same operating structure as the paper one. Something very remarkable at the level of architecture and design of the project, especially for small associations and religious organisations that are sustained and develop their activity thanks to the income obtained from the sale of credentials.
It also emphasises in the digital credential of the Camino de Santiago, the enrichment of its functionalities brought about by the agreements established with the Federation and the Xacobeo, which gives it more scope; the ONCE Foundation, which makes it more accessible; and the Guardia Civil or AlertCOPS, which provides more security to the pilgrim on the route.
"The digital credential of the Camino de Santiago is the ideal tool for us, because it allows us to move forward and, at the same time, be closer to our goals, the road, the pilgrims and all the information related to the pilgrimage". Jorge Martínez-Cava, president of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago.
The system designed by Camino Aplicación adapts quickly and economically to the purposes of each manager of the space or religious path and makes available to pilgrims through their mobile devices, in an easy and immediate way, a "friendly tool" that accompanies them, helps and encourages them to enrich their experience along the route.
"We were the first and so far the only ones to successfully create and develop a digital religious credential. It is a useful tool with a lot of potential. We hope that our collaboration with ALIANZA KAIRO will allow us to make the credential known worldwide". Rafael Fernández, CEO of Camino Aplicación.
From the above, we can conclude that those responsible for religious sites around the world have a new ally in the project that represents the digital religious credential, to get closer to their community and disseminate their objectives through an innovative, accessible and useful tool.
The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.