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Monday, 21 February, 2000, 18:41 GMT
Dome attacked for selling out

Child at entry kiosk
Not an amazing day for one of many disappointed customers

It seems like the Millennium Dome just cannot win.

Fresh from taking a battering over its flagging visitor numbers, the landmark attraction has now been attacked for selling out without warning.

I rang at 10am today and was told I would have no difficulty getting a ticket. It's really very upsetting
Peter Horn
Tourists reacted angrily on Monday - the first day of the school half-term - when they arrived at the Dome to find it had sold its 25,000 daily tickets.

Some said they had travelled hundreds of miles without tickets after being assured they could get in on the door of the Greenwich attraction.

Many attacked the Dome's organisers - the New Millennium Experience Company - for not warning of the upsurge in demand.

Peter Horn and his wife June had travelled from Paddock Wood, Kent, with their children.

Mr Horn said: "I rang at 10am today and was told I would have no difficulty getting a ticket. It's really very upsetting."

Mrs Horn said: "This is a big shame, particularly as the Dome has not been very full up until now. We would have bought tickets in advance if we had known we could not get in."

Michael Buczynskyj, who had travelled from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, said: "It's really disappointing and I'm not sure when I can come back again."

Prescott visit

The attacks came days after new Dome boss Pierre-Yves Gerbeau announced a clutch of measures designed to boost attendances at the attraction.

These included celebrity visits, discounted deals for those travelling long distances to the Dome and flexible opening hours.

John Prescott John Prescott: Dome is exciting
However, the screening of England's Six Nations Rugby match at the Dome on Saturday was attacked as a "desperate" attempt to transform the venue.

The NMEC said it was sorry people were unable to get in, but advised customers to wait until school parties began leaving later in the day.

The sell-out day coincided with a visit to the Dome by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who posed for pictures with dozens of school children from his Hull constituency.

Mr Prescott said: "Some people claim that the Dome is unpopular but everyone who comes here loves it. It's exciting and kids enjoy it, as these ones from Hull will."

While at the Dome, Mr Prescott met Mr Gerbeau, who outlined the improvements he was making.

Monday's 25,000 attendance means 100,000 people have visited the Dome in the past four days, and further big crowds can be expected for the rest of the half-term holiday.

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See also:
21 Feb 00 |  UK Politics
Dome an 'embarrassment' say Tories
18 Feb 00 |  UK
Dome shows rugby to tackle crisis
17 Feb 00 |  UK
'Month to rescue Dome'

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