WILLIAMSBURG, JULY 30 -- Colonial Williamsburg, which laid off 37 seasonal workers a week ago because of disappointing tourism figures this summer, is increasing its ticket prices and considering additional job cuts.
Albert Louer, a spokesman for the historic site, attributed the price increases to the need for more revenue and a plan by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to encourage each visitor to buy a single ticket that will give access to more exhibits.
"Sure, the revenue is important where we are having difficulties making budget," Louer said this week. "But we have been looking at this for a long time, and we found that people were not buying tickets that were the most beneficial. They were simply buying on price."
The basic admission ticket was raised by a dollar to $15.50 for adults and $7.25 for children 6 to 12. Visitors will pay $6.50 -- also a dollar more -- for single tickets to the Wallace Gallery and to Bassett Hall, and admission into the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center has been increased from $4 to $6.50.
The Royal Governor's Pass, previously $19.50 for adults, rose to $20; the $9.75 pass for children rose to $10.25. But the $24.50 Patriot's Pass, which allows visitors access to Historic Area exhibits all year long, remains unchanged.
Louer would not say how much tourism had declined this summer, but said the percentage was similar to those at Jamestown Festival Park and the Yorktown Victory Center, both nearby.
Tourism was down 5 percent at the Festival Park and 9.2 percent at the Victory Center through July 29, according to Deborah Padgett, publicity manager for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
In addition to the price increases at Williamsburg, Louer confirmed that six regular Colonial Williamsburg employes will be laid off or, more likely, relocated.
Some of the drop in attendance at the historic site can be attributed to competition from other area attractions and Virginia's hot, humid weather in July, Louer said. "People are saying 'It's too hot. Let's go in the fall,' " he said.
As a result, he added, the foundation will have to "hustle even harder than we are now to make this place a compelling experience."