The Travel Promotion Act calls for a nonprofit Corporation for Travel Promotion that will promote the United States as a travel destination and explain travel and security policies to international visitors.
"This is a historic victory for the U.S. economy and one in eight American workers whose jobs depend on travel," Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon, according to the travel association.
A $10 fee charged to visitors from countries included in the Visa Waiver Program who don't have to apply and pay for visas will partially fund the public-private organization. These visitors will pay the fee every two years when they register online using the Department of Homeland Security's Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
The rest of the funding will come through a matching program of up to $100 million dollars in private sector contributions.
Oxford Economics, an economic consulting and forecasting company, estimates a well-executed promotional program would draw 1.6 million new international visitors annually and generate $4 billion in new visitor spending.
National tourism organizations in countries including Greece, Australia and Mexico each spent more than $100 million on tourism marketing in 2005, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The United States spent about $6 million the same year.
Some opponents of the legislation say that charging overseas visitors a fee to promote the United States will deter them from visiting.
"We don't want foreigners to have to jump through so many hoops that they just give up and don't bother coming to the U.S.," Steven Lott, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association, told CNN before final passage of the bill. The IATA represents airlines around the world.