Regarding Crete tourism, Cretans take it personally
Crete tourism is big business. Crete is the most popular holiday destination in Greece. Fifteen percent of all arrivals in Greece, come through the city of Heraklion (port and airport), while charter flights to Heraklion were last year 20% of the total of charter flights in Greece. In sum, more than three and a half million tourists visited Crete last year. This increase in Crete tourism is reflected on the number of hotel beds, which increased in Crete by 53% from 1986 to 1991, while in the rest of Greece the corrensponding increase was 25%.
Today the tourism infrastructure in Crete caters to all tastes. There is accommodation of every possible category, from large luxury hotels with all the facilities (swimming pools, sports and recreation facilities etc.), to smaller family owned apartments, to camping facilities. Visitors can arrive at the island through three international airports in Heraklion, Chania and Sitia, or by boat to the ports of Heraklion, Chania, Rethimno and Agios Nikolaos.
Regarding Crete economy, in the older days it was mainly based on farming. This started changing visibly during the 1970s. While there is still an emphasis on farming and stock breeding, due to the climate and the terrain of the island, there is a drop in manufacturing and a big increase on the services industry, mainly tourism-related.
All three sectors of the Crete economy (agriculture, processing & packaging, services), are directly connected and interdepended. Crete has an average per capita income which is close to 100% of the Greek average. Unemployment is at approximately 4%, half of that of Greece.
In general, although all the sectors of the Crete economy are growing, Crete tourism represents the most significant part of the Crete economy.