Until the 1970s, the economy of Crete was primarily based on farming and stock breeding. Today this has been overtaken by the services industry, primarily tourism. More than two million tourists visit Crete each year and a large segment of the labour force is employed in the tourist industry.
The cultivation of olive trees for the production of olive oil and related products continues to play major role in the local economy. Vineyards supply grapes for wine production and raisins and fresh produce including tomatoes, potatoes and citrus fruit is exported to Athens and parts of Europe. The production of honey, cheese and herbs also contribute to the rural economy as does the raising of sheep and goats.
The real estate and construction sector is undergoing a boom and there are some industries involved in the production of building materials such as ready mixed concrete and bricks. In addition, there are many shops catering to the tastes and demands of both locals and tourists.
Unemployment is low on Crete, approximately 4%, which is half of the Greek average. In contrast, the per capita income is close to 100% of that of Greece as a whole.