The Deep aquarium in Hull has recorded its highest summer visitor numbers in 10 years, welcoming 96,000 guests over the six weeks and exceeding its annual target of 328,000 long before January 2015.
The Deep management are crediting the rise in visitors to the arrival in March of a colony of Gentoo penguins.
Colin Brown, chief executive for The Deep said: “The last few months has been fantastic. Who would’ve thought that the arrival of nine little penguins would create such a stir?”
At the Xscape indoor ski centre and Cineworld complex near Castleford, summer visitors topped 511,000. The previous record was in 2012 which saw 502,000 visits over the six-week summer period.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “There can be no doubt now that The Deep is one of the leaders in its field nationally and these incredible visitor stats reaffirm this. They’re a great example of Yorkshire tourism – constantly innovating, raising the bar, going the extra mile and giving visitors an experience they’ll not only never forget, but want to repeat.
“Early indications are that it’s been a great summer for many tourism businesses across the county and Yorkshire’s profile as a destination has never been higher. Latest tourism stats from April show we had an incredibly strong month, with bed nights for the month up 86 per cent year-on-year and visits up 41 per cent for the same period. This is all extremely encouraging and follows an excellent set of results for international visitors to Yorkshire for 2013, including a record 35 per cent rise in international spend.
“The aim now is for us all to grasp every opportunity we can to cement Yorkshire’s place in the premier league of world destinations.”
There was also good news for York, which was voted the UK’s fourth favourite city in the Conde Nast Traveller readers’ travel awards. London, Edinburgh and Bath were first, second and third.