Thousands see there's no place like Dome

By Time of article published Feb 22, 2000

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London - The fortunes of London's beleaguered Millennium Dome took a turn for the better on Monday as the attraction saw its first sell-out day - but hundreds of visitors were left fuming after being turned away.

After more than a month of headlines about poor attendance figures, organisers of the Dome, a billion-dollar attraction built to mark the year 2000, said the first day of the school holidays had seen the site full to capacity with more than 25 000 visitors.

But many families, including those who had travelled across the country to visit the site on the banks of the River Thames at Greenwich in south-east London, were angry at being barred entry after arriving to find all tickets sold.

Monday's attendance figure means 100 000 people have visited the Dome in the past four days, with big crowds expected for the rest of the week-long school holiday.

A Dome spokesperson said: "The Dome wasn't built in a day, but maybe these four days will help us build a new beginning. Our energies will be driving full-tilt now towards Easter."

The boost delighted new Dome boss Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, a Disneyland Paris veteran who took over earlier this month from Jennie Page.

Page was forced to resign after negative publicity surrounding the launch of the Dome on New Year's Eve and low visitor numbers during its first month of operation.

The Dome, a huge futuristic pavilion housing educational and cultural attractions, cost £758-million (R7,5-billion) to build, of which £4 500-million came from national lottery funds. - Sapa-AFP

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