Bill reauthorizes and funds Brand USA, a program important to Vermont’s travel and tourism industry
Vermont Business Magazine President Trump has signed into law a fiscal year 2020 spending bill that includes bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to promote Vermont and other states as a destination for international tourists. Welch’s bill reauthorizes Brand USA, a successful public-private partnership funded at no cost to taxpayers through a user fee on international visitors. Welch’s bill renews the program through 2027 and resolves a funding glitch that threatened its existence.
“The travel and tourism industry is a key driver of Vermont’s economy,” said Welch. “Promoting Vermont as a four-season destination for international visitors will create local jobs and boost the economy in every corner of our beautiful state. This bipartisan win renews the successful Brand USA international marketing program and locks in a stable funding source that will advance Vermont’s reputation as a world class tourism destination.”
“The Vermont Chamber is thrilled that the Brand USA program has been renewed. Representative Welch continues to be a leader on this issue and clearly recognizes the importance of this industry to Vermont. With 13 million visitors a year and approximately $2 billion in annual spending, continuing to strengthen this industry is a successful economic strategy in Vermont,” said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
Brand USA has a strong track record of attracting international visitors to the United States. In 2018 alone, it brought 1.13 million international visitors to the United States, generating an economic impact of $8.9 billion.
In October, Welch unveiled his bill at a Stowe roundtable discussion with Vermont travel and tourism leaders. He is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from which the bill originated.