Dome in trouble as Easter crowds stay away

27 Apr 00
Even the foreign visitors are deserting the Millennium Dome in London with the modern monument's new boss, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, likely to call on the government for extra financial support.

28 April 2000

With the capital bursting at the seams with Easter visitors, and long queues for most tourist attractions, the Dome again missed out.

During Easter week, an average of 17,153 people a day visited the Dome, less than half the 35,000 capacity which Gerbeau created with longer opening hours.

'I was intending to take my family to visit the Dome,' said Roger Faligot, from Brittany in northern France. 'But everything I heard about it suggested it wasn't worth the trouble, so we preferred to spend the short time we have here on other visits such as the British Museum and the London Eye, which was spectacular.'

One Italian who did visit the Dome described it as 'disappointing'. She said: 'There seems to be a lack of imagination in the concept, and it was not well organised.'

Gerbeau, though, maintained: 'The product is sparkling, everything is working, there are no queues and it is very clean.' But he admitted it would be a 'challenging' task to attract the breakeven figure of 10 million visitors by the end of the year.

Any further loan would be on top of the £50m drawn by the New Millennium Experience Company last year. But government sources now expect that proceeds from the eventual sale of the site will be partly needed to pay off the Dome's losses.


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