NYC & Company announces Where’s Wally?® as New York City’s Official Family Ambassador

If you’ve ever wondered Where’s Wally?, the answer right now would be New York City, where he’s just been appointed New York City’s official family ambassador.

NYC & Company, New York City’s official tourism, marketing and partnership organization, has announced that Where’s Wally?® will serve as New York City’s fifth official Family Ambassador. As part of a yearlong collaboration, Wally, the iconic world traveller, will encourage family travel to the city by highlighting the best ways for families to discover, experience and enjoy the many neighbourhoods, cultural institutions, parks, attractions and hotels across the five boroughs. In 2012, New York City welcomed an estimated 15.2 million family visitors, a 2.7 per cent projected increase over 2011, contributing approximately $15 billion in direct spending to New York City’s economy.

“Wally – or Waldo, as we know him in the United States – has been travelling and exploring cities across the world for more than 25 years, and we are extremely pleased to have him as our new NYC Family Ambassador,”

said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company.

“With immeasurable international and domestic recognition, Wally will enable us to reach and influence people of all ages, encouraging them to bring their families to New York City this year.”

“We are thrilled to partner with NYC & Company to encourage exploration of one the greatest cities in the world,”

said Nicole Blake, Head of Franchise for DreamWorks Classics, the home of the Wally/Waldo brand.

“With its five boroughs of limitless sites, cultural institutions and landmarks, NYC provides the ideal backdrop for people of all ages to continue their search for Wally.”

The programme will feature editorial content that highlights things to do and see for visiting families as well as locals. Starting today, on nycgo.com/waldo, Wally will guide people to family-friendly summer destinations across the five boroughs including the Hudson River Skatepark on Pier 62, the city’s 14 miles of beaches, the Friedsam Memorial Carousel in Central Park, Pesso’s Homemade Italian Ices in Queens, Best Pizza in Brooklyn, the Audubon Center in Prospect Park, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and many more.

In addition, to help visitors navigate all of the city’s terrific offerings, NYC & Company is collaborating with longtime partner Smart Destinations on a limited-edition Where’s Wally? NYC attraction pass that provides savings of up to 45 percent on admissions to top museums, tours and attractions across the City. The exclusive Where’s Wally? New York Explorer Pass can be purchased online at nycgo.com/waldo or at the Official NYC Information Center in Midtown Manhattan.

The Family Ambassador programme will also highlight over 40 family-friendly and summer-themed hotel offers including incentives such as free picnics in the park, special gift bags, free breakfast, complimentary passes to top attractions and more. Participating hotels include the Affinia Manhattan, InterContinental New York Times Square, Millenium Hilton, New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge and the Sheraton New York Times Square. The offers are available until 2nd September 2013 on nycgo.com/waldo.

The Family Ambassador campaign will be promoted through bus shelters, taxi TV and digital TV in the USA with digital support in the top two international markets, the United Kingdom and Canada. Additionally, NYC & Company will ask its more than 2,000 members, city residents and visitors to help guide Wally throughout New York City by posting interesting photos, fun facts and their favourite family-friendly destinations using the hashtag #WaldoNYC.

First published in 1987, Where’s Wally? is one of the most recognisable characters in the world and a pop-culture icon. A publishing phenomenon with 59+ million books sold, the successful series is published in more than 30 countries, has been translated into more than 38 languages and has close to 5 million Likes on Facebook. Known as Waldo in the USA and Wally in the UK, other monikers for the striped-shirt explorer include Charlie in France, Walter in Germany and Hugo in Sweden. Where’s Wally? is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The NYC Family Ambassador program was created in 2009 to help position New York City as a safe, welcoming, family-friendly destination and to encourage families to visit during the summer. Where’s Wally? is the fifth NYC Family Ambassador after The Muppets in 2012, The Smurfs in 2011, Dora the Explorer in 2010 and Sesame Street in 2009. Since the programme began, family visitation to New York City has grown by 15 per cent and currently comprises 29 per cent of total visitation to New York City.

For more details on the Where’s Wally? NYC Family Ambassador campaign, find Wally hiding under his American name at nycgo.com/waldo.

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