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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Dome support 'pathetic', says ex-boss
Bob Ayling by Millennium Wheel
Mr Ayling resigned as part of the Dome rescue package
Former Dome boss Bob Ayling has branded the lack of support for Millennium projects in the UK as "pathetic".

Mr Ayling, who resigned as chairman of the New Millennium Experience Company in May, said negative press coverage had "taken its toll" on the Dome.

Speaking on the BBC 1's Breakfast With Frost programme, he said people in other countries welcomed money being spent on large projects to attract visitors to major cities.

But he said: "When we put infrastructure in London, whether it's the Dome, whether it's the Wheel, whether it's the Millennium Bridge, the slightest thing that goes wrong with it and the stories are not about what great things these are for London, the stories are about Millennium failure, the Millennium bug has struck again.

"We are just pathetic."

More people have visited the Millennium Dome in June than previous months - but the increase is largely due to discounted and free tickets.

Dome queue
Visitor numbers at the Dome have been disappointing

A total of 540,267 people visited the south London attraction last month, about 40,000 more than in May, which has been the worst month since January.

But cut-price entry and the highest number of free school visits in a month so far - 96,911 - propped up June's figures.

More than 250,000 got discounted tickets as the numbers taking advantage of special offers rose from 43% in May to 50% in June.

Mr Ayling resigned as chairman of the NMEC in May as a "non-negotiable" part of the 29 million rescue package drawn up to save the crisis-hit Dome.

In March he handed in his resignation as chief executive of British Airways amid mounting pressure, abruptly ending his turbulent 15-year career at the company.

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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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