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The BBC's Nick Higham reports
"Ticket prices will not be cut"
 real 28k

Dome boss Pierre-Yves Gerbeau
"It is the most exciting attraction in Europe at the moment"
 real 28k

Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 17:41 GMT
'Month to rescue Dome'

Millennium Dome Perception of the Dome needs to be improved says new boss


The new boss of the Millennium Dome has given himself a month to turn around the fortunes of the troubled attraction.


Everyone who comes to the Dome must have an amazing day out from start to finish, with excitement and entertainment all around them
Pierre-Yves Gerbeau
Former EuroDisney whizz-kid Pierre-Yves Gerbeau said: "If we are not ready at the beginning of March, March 15, we are going to miss the Easter vacations, and if we miss Easter, we are going to miss summer."

Mr Gerbeau, who replaced chief executive Jennie Page 10 days ago, said flexible opening hours, discounted return visit deals and celebrity visits were being considered to boost attendances at the Dome.

He said the Dome was performing well but needed to improve its public perception and required a little "fine tuning".

No price cuts

Ruling out cuts to the 20 ticket price he said the majority of people were pleased with their days at the Dome and that visitor numbers were "amazing".

Mr Gerbeau Dome help: Pierre-Yves Gerbeau
Mr Gerbeau said: "My approach is that the visitor is king. They are the real bosses and everyone who comes to the Dome must have an amazing day out from start to finish, with excitement and entertainment all around them.

"Everything needed to make that happen is here - but we can add to this with more entertainment, reduced waiting time, and clearer information.

"I want everyone to be able to get to what they want to see faster, with more fun along the way in between the zones."

Visitor numbers up

Mr Gerbeau also disclosed record visitor figures, with attendance for the week beginning February 7 at 112,788, 8% up on the previous week and 30% higher than the last week of January.

Body Zone queues Queue entertainers could combat boring waits
Valentine's Day saw the biggest attendance on a weekday, 16,920, other than the millennium bank holiday Monday.

Mr Gerbeau added: "All the opinion polls show that around three-quarters of visitors are recommending the Dome to their friends - and the attendance figures show that their friends are coming.

"Word of mouth recommendation will probably be the biggest factor in helping people decide to come."

Last month's attendance figures were poorer than expected and critics said if they did not pick up significantly NMEC would face financial difficulties and be forced to call on the government for a hand-out.

Queue entertainers

He said reducing queuing times at some zones was a priority, and queue entertainers were being considered.

There would be clearer information in advance, so visitors could plan what to see and do, he said.

There would also be clearer signposting and the introduction of new routes through the building.

Also under consideration were a 25% discount for repeat visit tickets bought at the Dome, and a review of opening times and plans for evening sessions.

Mr Gerbeau has acted quickly to streamline the management structure at the Dome in a bid to make the operation slicker and more cohesive.

On Monday, Ken Robinson, the Dome's operations director, resigned in the wake of Mr Gerbeau's organisational streamlining at the New Millennium Experience Company.

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See also:
15 Feb 00 |  UK
Dome ops director quits
07 Feb 00 |  UK
New Dome chief outlines vision
05 Feb 00 |  UK
Profile: New blood at the Dome
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Gerbeau: Genius or journeyman?
07 Feb 00 |  UK
Turning around the Dome
06 Feb 00 |  UK
Sponsors 'called for Dome resignation'
01 Feb 00 |  UK
Testing time at the Dome
02 Feb 00 |  UK
Visitors hail Dome service

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