The Deep in Hull is celebrating its best year since 2008 for the financial year February 2013 to January 2014. Visitor numbers topped 349,000 plus a further and 29,000 students took part in education visits; a 7.5% increase on 2012/13. 2012/2013 saw an improvement on the previous year also with 326,000 day visitors and 26,500 educational visits, meaning steady growth for the past 24 months. These figures are announced as the aquarium heads into a very exciting year, which will see the arrival of a colony of Gentoo penguins from Moody Gardens Zoo in Texas later this month. The exhibit, which is set to open to the public on Monday 3rd March is hoped to bring an additional 20,000 visitors to Hull and will put the attraction on a fantastic footing going forward. Colin Brown, Chief Executive for The Deep said: ?The last year has been a very good one, and includes our best January since 2004 with over 25,000 visitors. After years of adding new exhibits, in 2013 we made a conscious decision to concentrate on improving the overall customer experience and with the help of a team of Disney Trainers we think we have done just that. This has resulted in a high level of repeat visits and positive feedback; a great position to be in. ?This work has put us in a great position to welcome our Penguins next month, and we are confident of another good year in 2014. The new additions are attracting a huge amount of interest both locally and nationally, and can only add to Hulls and Yorkshires tourism mix.? Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: ?The Deep is one of the leading attractions of its kind, not just nationally but internationally, and this significant rise in visitor numbers is proof of that and credit should go to their dedicated team for their hard work. ?We?ve seen a major boost in tourism and international profile for Yorkshire this year and last for several reasons. The Tour de France?s imminent arrival, Hull?s tremendous winning bid to become UK City of Culture 2017 and several major titles such as the Lonely Planet all saying Yorkshire is the place to be in 2014 are collectively so important. Add to that the major new opening at The Deep when they welcome the Gentoo penguins and there?s every reason to optimistic for another great year ahead.?