More visitors at Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium

National Marine Aquarium
Image caption In 2009 the aquarium admitted it was struggling to maintain visitor numbers

The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth has announced increased visitor numbers for 2010.

Despite a "challenging" year, the tourist attraction said numbers rose to 264,000, which was 6,000 more than the previous year.

Managing director Dr David Gibson said the aquarium's income was expected to reach £2.5m by the financial year end.

Everyone had pulled together to buck the trend compared with many other visitor destinations, he said.

"We're predicting that 2011 will be equally tough... but we're confident we can repeat last year's numbers," Dr Gibson added.

Since its opening in 1998, the aquarium has regularly attracted up to quarter of a million visitors a year, but in 2009 it admitted it was fighting to keep visitor numbers strong during the recession.

An economic impact assessment report by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which the National Marine Aquarium is a member of, showed its members contributed about £645m a year to the national economy.

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