The Cretan tourism sector has been characterised by a large and rapid growth from 1970 to 2000 and has gone on the primary industry of the island. Despite the fact that this growth has seemed stagnant over the last few years, tourism is still of vital importance for the local economy. Agricultural industries are strongly linked with tourism activities and usually derive numerous benefits from them. Understanding tourists’ opinions and demands plays a crucial role in implementing appropriate and sustainable future agricultural offer strategies on the island in the future. As several studies have previously indicated, the current global economic and financial crisis has deeply cut household expenditure and 2009 has been predicted to be a difficult year for the tourism industry. This research was carried out in the western prefecture of Crete, Chania, which is characterised by its high number of mass-tourism infrastructures located in the northern coast and by its mountainous rural areas delaying development in the inland and in the southern part of the prefecture. The aim of this work is first, on the basis of data on tourists’ attitudes and preferences compiled in a specific face-to-face survey conducted in August 2009, to report on the profile of the tourists that have spent their holidays in Crete; then, regarding their local product consumption and preferences, to understand the way tourism has helped Cretan agricultural demand and try to make the future management of the sector easier. Finally, an exploratory study on the short-term economic crisis effects will be undertaken by the authors in order to uncover changes in the nature of tourists’ spending patterns and trends.


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