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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 11:39 GMT


Dome ticket sales 'poor'

Around 12 million people are expected to visit the Dome in 2000

The Millennium Dome Experience is suffering cash-flow problems following poor early ticket sales, it is reported.

Not a single date has sold out so far - including 1 January, according to a Financial Times survey, which cited the Dome's own ticket hotline.

Of 29 sales outlets in Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just one had sold a Dome ticket.

The newspaper also said the organisers had been given an additional £50m public subsidy, in the form of a loan, to help boost finances.

It said its poll of ticket outlets suggested there had been little public interest in the Dome despite a £4m television, radio, and poster advertising campaign by M and C Saatchi.

It added that out of more than a dozen newsagents in Edinburgh, none had a sold a single ticket for the £758m Dome - built by the River Thames in Greenwich, south London.

[ image: The Dome's dramatic 'Body Zone']
The Dome's dramatic 'Body Zone'
There were also no sales at 10 newsagents in Manchester and only one outlet out of seven surveyed in Newcastle had made a sale.

One Edinburgh newsagent is quoted as saying the £20 adult admission price was too expensive.

"People have said to me it's a total white elephant," said a newsagent in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in north-east England.

Dome organisers, the New Millennium Experience Company, confirmed it had received a £50m public subsidy loan, but said it was "complete nonsense to say this is `additional money'.

"It was announced two-and-a-half years ago this money might be made available and it's in our annual reports," a spokesman said.

He also stressed that "the survey does not give an accurate picture".

[ image: Advertising campaign is under way]
Advertising campaign is under way
"We are very happy with the way sales are going. They are ahead of expectation and if they continue at this rate we will certainly reach our £12m target.

"Tickets are available at 25,000 National Lottery outlets as well as from other outlets and by telephone," he added.

Although Dome tickets as part of travel packages have been available for some time, Dome-only tickets went on sale to the general public in late September.

At present, only tickets for the January-March 2000 period are on sale.

An adult single ticket costs £20 but NMEC is expecting most people to come in family groups.

A family ticket for five costs £57 and there are various concessions for school groups.

Of the 12 million people expected during the year, around 2.5 million will come from overseas.

Last week, NMEC unveiled plans of the spectacular Millennium Eve opening night at the Dome which will be officially opened by the Queen.

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