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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 00:03 GMT 01:03 UK
Half of Dome tickets discounted
The Dome continues to fail to meet attendance targets
Half of all tickets to visit the Millennium Dome are given away for nothing or at a discount, it has been confirmed.

A House of Lords written answer revealed that the number of free or reduced price tickets to the financially-troubled Dome has risen steadily and reached 50% in June.

This is further bad news for the finances of the Dome

Peter Ainsworth MP
This disclosure follows recent news that attendance figures remained below the level needed to make a revised annual target figure.

Minister for the Dome Lord Falconer of Thoroton said that some Dome sponsors had recently introduced discounted offers.

He said: "The result of this is reflected in the percentage of free or discounted tickets sold in June."

Shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport Peter Ainsworth said: "This is further bad news for the finances of the Dome that have already been shot to pieces."

He added: "It also indicates the very sceptical view that the public holds about the merits of the Dome as a visitor attraction."

The percentage of free or reduced tickets sold each month was: pre-2000 - 10%; January - 10%; February - 19%; March - 28%; April - 26%; May - 43%; and June - 50%.

Tickets usually cost 20 for adults and 16.50 for children, or 57 for a family of four.

Targets not met

In May, 502,204 people visited the Dome - a daily average of 16,200 - but the 758m Dome needs to attract an average of more than 20,000 to reach its overall target.

The May figure included 64,179 free school visits and a one-day record of 34,083 visitors on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday on 29 May.

The attendance figures come after Dome chief executive Pierre-Yves Gerbeau said that families from Scotland and the north of England consider a visit to the Millennium Dome to be a "risky purchase".

He told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that negative images of the London attraction were deterring people from taking the time and expense to see it.

He appealed to the public to have a balanced opinion of the Dome.

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Dome too 'risky', admits boss
25 Jun 00 | UK
Dome bonuses despite cuts
15 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Dome was days from bankruptcy
24 May 00 | UK
MPs demand Dome inquiry
24 May 00 | UK Politics
Dome 'monument to Labour vanity'
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