Population - Main activities

The population of the island of Crete is approximately 540.000.

The most dynamic sector of the cretan economy is tourism. The excelent climate of the island, the beautiful landscape along with the remarkable tourist resorts, attract as many as 2.000.000 visitors every year.

Crete is also known for the quality of its agricultural products that , due to the good climate, are produced all year around. These include olives, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, oranges etc.

Stock breeding has traditionally played, an extremely important role to the life of the Cretans, and still does. In the Cretan plateaus sheep and goats are bred for their milk, wool and meat. The Cretan cheeses ,especially Gruyere, and "athotiros" are famous for their quality and distinctive taste. Another occupation for quite a few Cretans is fishing (..obviously). Although the quantity of fish in Crete is limited the quality is generally very good.

There are several "spin-off" industries involved with the packaging and shipping of these products.Other industries operating on the island are involved with excavation and processing of marble, production of plastics, farming machinery etc.

There are two higher education institutions in Crete, the University of Crete with schools in Heraklion and Rethimnon and the Polytechnic of Chania, based in Chania.

Heraklion is also the base of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas one of the most important research organizations in Greece. The Foundation comprises seven research Institutes with five of them based in Crete (Biology, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Laser and Microelectronics, Mediterranean Studies).