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Wednesday, November 10, 1999 Published at 06:29 GMT


Dome ticket sales pass million mark

The Body Zone hopes to take people on an "emotional rollercoaster"

More than a million tickets have been sold for the Millennium Dome, organisers have revealed.

Lord Falconer, the minister in charge of the project, said it was a "quite remarkable achievement" considering tickets had only been on sale for six weeks.

He said: "You couldn't find another visitor attraction or, for example a theatre, that has sold as many tickets before it even opens."

[ image: Workmen put the
Workmen put the "skin" on the body sculpture
A report earlier this week suggested ticket sales were going very slowly, with just one ticket sold in Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne and Manchester.

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), responded by saying the survey was unrepresentative, with managing director Liam Kane saying the company remained "absolutely confident" that it would reach its target of 12 million visitors in the year 2000.

He said: "About a quarter of people tell us they will only buy their tickets the day before coming and, in all, 86% plan not to book more than four weeks before their visit."

NMEC also denied it was behind schedule as they unveiled the centrepiece of the exhibition, a giant human figure.

It rejected reports that an electrician's strike earlier this year meant work on five of the Dome's major exhibition zones was running so late they would not be ready for opening day, 31 December.

"The only schedule that matters to us is December 31 and we will be ready," said a spokesman.

'Dramatic insight'

The company said it would be ready by the end of November "to all intents and purposes".

The giant Body Zone promises to provide visitors with a "dramatic insight into their bodies and the discoveries, technologies and new ideas which will affect people in the millennium".

In the zone, families will be taken on what organisers call an "emotional rollercoaster" journey through a simulated body structure where they will feel fear, apprehension, peace, humour and sadness and learn how their physiology affects them.

[ image: The exhibition will be ready by New Year's Eve, say the organisers]
The exhibition will be ready by New Year's Eve, say the organisers
Afterwards, drained customers will stumble across a huge open plaza two-thirds the size of a football pitch called the Explore Area.

In a bustling atmosphere they will be encouraged to learn about the issues surrounding the perception of beauty and body decoration, the importance of looking and feeling good and the health care of the future.

Displays will include a virtual computer model of the heart and a diet fruit machine and exercise machines.

Visitors can also learn about relaxation techniques by experiencing massage, aromatherapy and colour therapy.

A futuristic operating theatre set in 2010 can be viewed through special 3D glass panels and visitors will be able to see robot surgeons at work.

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