Houston, Texas (NAPSI) - From creating jobs to protecting the environment, many are surprised to learn that the global cruise industry is much more than a great travel and entertainment experience.

The global cruise industry brings economic development, cultural exchange, support of community and environmental programs, and a commitment to preserving and protecting communities and waterways.

According to Cruise Forward, a new initiative of the industry, the global cruise industry generated nearly $100 billion in economic benefits and more than 753,000 jobs worldwide in 2011.

In addition, by providing financial support to local charities, protecting the cultural heritage of port communities, and involving employees and guests in volunteer opportunities, cruising makes a difference in hundreds of ports across the globe. Cruise lines are also actively working to reduce the overall environmental impact of cruising and preserve and protect oceans, beaches and ports.

Said Christine Duffy, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association, “We must do more to share these stories and Cruise Forward will help us do just that and also increase public awareness regarding the industry’s extensive commitment to supporting community partnerships, safeguarding the environment and delivering wide-ranging economic benefits worldwide.”

To learn more, visit www.CruiseForward.org, and join with others that love cruising on the Cruise Forward Facebook page (Facebook.com/CruiseForward).