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Dome Chief Py Gerbeau
"The marketing campaign is about addressing the challenges of the next 6 months"
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The BBC's Brian Milligan
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Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Dome 'can be on budget'
Millennium Dome
Two groups are bidding to take over the Dome
Millennium Dome chief executive Pierre-Yves Gerbeau believes 20m of cost savings can be made to bring the project within its 758m budget.

He admitted the Dome had financial problems but still described the project as a fantastic success despite the negative publicity.

Mr Gerbeau made his comments as he unveiled summer plans and a new advertising strategy to attract customers to the troubled south London attraction.

Dome chief executive Pierre-Yves Gerbeau

A Best of British programme will be accompanied by adverts promoting the new slogan: "You've got a mind of your own, take it to the Dome."

"We want to say to those people who haven't yet visited, 'Don't listen to what you've heard about the Dome, come and see for yourself and discover why people love it'," Mr Gerbeau told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

"We have had and will have financial problems because we carried the burden of the past."

Best of British

He said there had been a lot of negative media coverage and the project had been used as a political football.

But Mr Gerbeau described the three million people who have already visited the attraction as "fantastic ambassadors" who could also spread the word about the Dome's contents.

Carnival 1999
Dome visitors could get a preview of Notting Hill Carnival 2000 costumes
The new programme will include British games such as Monopoly and Cluedo and the showing of top British comedy films.

Next month the Dome will also stage a preview of the costumes to be used in this year's Notting Hill Carnival.

Last weekend Mr Gerbeau, who took over at the Dome from ousted chief executive Jennie Page in February, said that he intended to name the politicians he held to blame for the failure of the project.

He said: "I will stand up at the end of the year and tell people what went wrong and why."

But he also stressed the aim of the latest marketing campaign was to focus attention on the Dome's remaining six months and address the challenges that lay ahead.

Visitor shortfall

The latest marketing campaign, however, will have to inspire great numbers of new visitors if the Dome is to make up ground.

Dome organisers the New Millennium Experience Company had originally budgeted on attracting 12 million visitors to the Dome during 2000.

This figure was first revised to 10 million and then to seven million as the company asked for and received, two further cash grants, totalling 89m, from the National Lottery.

Total attendance in the first six months of the year reached 3,114,000.

The June daily average was around 18,000 a day - still short of the 21,250 a day that has to be averaged from now on if the seven million figure is to be reached.

The government will shortly make a decision on which of two consortia will take over the Dome when the millennium experience exhibition closes at the end of the year.

Japanese finance house Nomura wants to retain the attraction as a leisure site.

Rival group Legacy plans to turn the Dome into offices and workshops, creating a hi-tech residential campus.

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Dome too 'risky', admits boss
25 Jun 00 | UK
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15 Jun 00 | UK Politics
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02 Jun 00 | UK
Dome visitors fall sharply
24 May 00 | UK
MPs demand Dome inquiry
24 May 00 | UK Politics
Dome 'monument to Labour vanity'
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