'Sesame Street' Characters Help Promote NYC

NYC The Real Deal Family/Sesame StreetIf you want to push a kid-friendly message, choose your ambassador wisely.

New York has enlisted beloved Sesame Street characters to emphasize the family activities available this summer as part of its "Real Deal" campaign. The campaign, which just launched on nycgo.com, promotes exclusive offers on entertaining, dining and shopping, as well as a partnership with American Express.

Visitors can proceed to nycgo.com/family and click through to numerous activities. Various locales promoted on the site include the Children's Museum of the Arts, Central Park Zoo and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Activities target kids and teens alike. In addition, Oscar and Big Bird, among others, are interviewed and share their favorite things to do in New York City. (Big Bird is partial to the green market in Union Square.)

Muppets, including Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster, will be featured on online and outdoor advertising, as well as on taxi ads throughout the city.

More than 11.3 million visitors are expected to visit this summer, only a small decline from 2008. New York City remains the No. 1 U.S. destination for overseas travelers. Hotel occupancy is on par with 2008 levels, standing at 83.3% for the week ending June 27, compared with the national average of 65.4%.

"The numbers are very encouraging," said George Fertitta, the CEO of NYC & Company. "While we may not exceed last year's numbers, we still expect a strong year and continue on pace to meet our goal of 50 million visitors annually by 2015."

NYC: The Real Deal program added more than 115 special offers and incentives in addition to 50 new family hotel savings packages as part of the The Real Deal Family initiative. In partnership with American Express, card members receive an additional 10% off when they use AmEx on Real Deal Summer Friday promotions through Sept. 13.

The total value of the campaign is $2.2 million.

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