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Friday, 21 July, 2000, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Dome falls far below targets
empty Dome
Visitor numbers have been disappointing at the Dome
The beleaguered Millennium Dome looks set to earn less than half of its predicted income.

This forecast is despite the recent award of 29m, which brings the total lottery grant to 525m.

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) blamed the strong pound and negative media coverage on its dire financial situation.

Commercial income for 2000 at the Greenwich attraction in south London is estimated at 85m, compared with original forecasts of 194m.

The Dome does not have a roller-coaster ride inside. That pleasure is reserved for the chief executive's job

Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, Dome chief executive
The figures came to light as NMEC published its annual report and financial statement for 1999.

It shows that former chief executive, Jennie Page, received 178,983 - more than a year's salary - when she was ousted in February.

And operations director Ken Robinson, whose with-pension salary was 184,000, received 147,025 when he resigned at the same time.

NMEC is now budgeting on having seven million visitors this year - which includes the one million school children who visited the attraction for free.

Ticket fiasco

The original estimate of visitors was 12 million which was reduced to 10 million in February before being lowered to seven million in May.

NMEC chairman, David Quarmby and chief executive Pierre-Yves Gerbeau both admit in the report that the company made mistakes with the opening night's ticket fiasco.

They also admit errors about the over-estimation of visitor numbers and with the quality of the attraction in its early weeks.

Pierre-Yves Gerbeau
Pierre-Yves Gerbeau: Rollercoaster ride
Mr Gerbeau said: "New visitor attractions, especially of the size and special nature of the Dome, never operate completely smoothly and faultlessly from day one."

He said the Dome did not have the luxury of time on its side.

"The Dome does not have a roller-coaster ride inside. That pleasure is reserved for the chief executive's job," Mr Gerbeau said.

NMEC said although numbers at the attraction were fewer than originally estimated, visitors were spending more once inside the Dome.

It was originally thought visitors would spend an average of 2.50 on catering but they are currently spending around 3.50.

The average spending on merchandise was also originally thought to be 2.50 but is currently 3.20.

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See also:

28 Feb 00 | UK Politics
100,000 for new Dome chief
15 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Dome was days from bankruptcy
02 Jun 00 | UK
Dome visitors fall sharply
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