Many tourism scholars have recognised food as a research topic, and not only because of its nutritional importance (Hjalager & Richards, 2002; Hall & Sharples, 2003; Cohen & Avieli, 2004). This can be credited to the fact that cooking and culinary consumption has gained a more prominent place, as far as tourism experience and leisure consumption is concerned (Mykletun & Gyimothy, 2009). Food consumption is one of the most enjoyable activities that tourists undertake during their holiday (Ryan, 1997) and a travel motivational factor. Gastronomy is a cultural, economic and social part of a country. The identity of Greek gastronomy is rich, with deep roots and well known culinary traditions, which can be traced back to ancient times. Cretan gastronomy is considered a very interesting area, the most typical example of the famous Mediterranean diet, enhancing good health and longevity. Despite the gastronomic identity of the island of Crete, it has not yet evolved into a gastronomic centre or a pole of attraction for special interest tourists. The aim of this paper is to identify whether gastronomy constitutes a motivation for domestic tourists to visit Crete as a gastronomic destination. Moreover, it explores domestic touristsâ€™ views regarding the ways local gastronomy could successfully be promoted, as well as their perceptions of Cretan gastronomy based on their current visit and experiences to the Island of Crete.
Keywords: Gastronomy Tourism, Domestic Visitors, Motives, Perceptions, Island of Crete