Congressman Welch wants to boost international tourism

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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont's tourism industry brings in about 13 million visitors every year. Now, Congressman Peter Welch wants to expand those numbers internationally.

Welch is pitching a new policy in congress to fully fund the "Brand USA" program.

It would use public-private partnerships to boost exposure abroad.

He made the announcement on Friday in Stowe with tourism industry leaders.

"Brand USA" brings in international journalists and TV programs to showcase rural states like Vermont.

Welch says as the U.S. bumps heads with countries like China, and there's a need to put a positive image out there.

"It's very important for tourism in Vermont and around the country, especially now when there's so much nasty rhetoric out there that a lot of international visitors don't feel welcome," Congressman Welch said.

All states can get a cut of the "Brand USA" program, but rural states like Vermont are guaranteed help.

Brand USA is funded through a fee on international visitors.