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Vermont Declares Its Foliage The World's Best

MONTPELLIER, Vt. (CBS) -- Vermont has issued a declaration as bold as the fall colors in New England: No one in the world beats its foliage.

The Green Mountain State's tourism department said Monday that "after years of watching other states attempt to position themselves as autumn destinations, Vermont has thrown down the gauntlet and declared itself the home of the World's Best Foliage."

About 3.5 million people a year visit Vermont in the fall and spend $460 million during the foliage season, officials say.

"No one does foliage better than Vermont," Gov. Peter Shumlin said in the statement. "With our flaming reds, blazing oranges and glowing yellows, we have the most vibrant fall colors in the world."

There was no immediate response from New Hampshire or Massachusetts tourism officials regarding Vermont's supposed leaf-peeping primacy.

In 2013, a magazine in Arizona caused a foliage fracas when it ran a cover story titled "Autumn In Arizona & Why It's Better Here Than It Is In Vermont."

This fall's new advertising campaign from the Vermont tourism department will try to refute that claim.

"Clearly, we're the bar," said Tourism Commissioner Megan Smith in a statement. "Our hope is that people will be inspired to come see it for themselves."

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