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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 04:20 GMT
Free Dome visits begin

Concern about Dome's low visitor numbers


Five thousand schoolchildren are due to visit the Millennium Dome in London free of charge on Tuesday.

They will be the first of one million children entering the Greenwich-based attraction on education tours during the course of the year.

The scheme was planned long before concern arose about the Dome's low attendance figures.

Sparse weekday attendances will be boosted by 5,000 schoolchildren a day and their teachers.

Four-hour visit

They will each spend four hours in the Dome, visiting three of the zones and watching the central show and the Blackadder film.

The children - aged between eight and 16 - will not go in the Body or Play zones, because these are not regarded as sufficiently educational.

Two and a half thousand schools have already been chosen for the free tours by ballot, while other schools have opted to pay.

The free tickets will not ease the project's much-publicised cash-flow problems, but by increasing attendances could provide a much-needed boost to staff morale.

It is thought the Dome attracted slightly more than 300,000 visitors in January - well down on what it needs to break even.

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See also:
31 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Extra Dome cash 'not a grant'

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