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Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Dome boss hails 'popular' attraction
The Body Zone
Most people questioned by BBC News Online enjoyed the Dome
Political interference and critical media coverage have been blamed for lower than predicted visitor numbers at the Millennium Dome.

The attraction's chief executive Pierre-Yves Gerbeau said the politics surrounding the Dome had put potential visitors off. (The initial target of 12 million visitors has been halved.)

PY Gerbeau
Pierre-Yves Gerbeau: "August is looking good"
Mr Gerbeau's claim came as a survey of Dome visitors - carried out by BBC News Online - suggested most people were satisfied with their trip.

Researchers questioned 394 people over a two-day period and found 87.6% (345 people) were having a good day out.

Of those questioned, 77.1% thought the Greenwich site was the right location; 55.9% thought it was a unique experience and 77% thought the harsh media coverage was unfair.

Less encouraging was the finding that over 50% of those asked thought the attraction was too expensive.

The results - generally - appear to contradict the widespread criticism of the Dome in the press.

'Commercial success'

Speaking on a live BBC News Online webcast from the Dome, Mr Gerbeau said the survey results demonstrated the attraction's worth.

"It's the second biggest paying attraction in Europe. We are already a very big successful commercial organisation.


30,000 jobs, that's the good it has brought

Lord Falconer
"July was the best month ever, August is looking good."

In answer to a question from a BBC News Online user over poor transportation links, Mr Gerbeau urged would-be visitors to go to their travel agents and find out about organised Dome trips.

And he denied special ticket deals smacked of desperation, saying: "Promotions are something you do all the time. We have to adapt to the needs and demands of customers".

Prosperity and regeneration

Also speaking on the live webcast, the minister with responsibility for the Dome, Lord Falconer, said it had brought prosperity to the area.

Defending the decision to build the attraction in Greenwich rather than Birmingham, Lord Falconer said it had regenerated "what was one of the poorest local authorities in England".

He said: "Thirty thousand jobs, that's the good it has brought. It's brought hope where previously there was despair.

"It's brought jobs where previously there was high unemployment.

"The people who come really enjoy it and they're putting their money where their mouth is."

Survey in detail

The results of the BBC New Online survey are as follows (based on 394 people questioned):

Are you having a fun day?

Yes: 87.6%

No: 3.6%

No opinion: 8.9%

It costs the average family 57 to visit the Dome. Is it worth it?

Yes: 41.5%

No: 50.9%

No opinion: 7.6%

Did they put it in the right location

Yes: 77.1%

No: 16%

No opinion: 6.9%

The Dome aims to bring education and entertainment together through technology and innovative presentation.

It's a unique experience: 55.9%

It's sometimes confusing: 33.4%

Neither: 10.7%

Has the Dome had unfair media coverage

Yes: 77%

No: 13.6%

No opinion: 9.4%

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See also:

29 Aug 00 | UK
Debate the Dome Live
11 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Dome 'should close after summer'
02 Jun 00 | UK
Dome visitors fall sharply
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