BANGKOK: Aided by double-digit growth in the European and Oceanian sectors, international tourist arrivals to Thailand posted a 7.3 percent year-on-year increase during the first ten months of 1998, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported today. From January 1, 1998 through October 31, 1998, a total of 6,235,639 tourist arrivals were recorded. During the same period a year earlier, there were 5,809,322 arrivals. The European sector, led by the UK and Scandinavia, was up 24 percent compared to the same period a year ago. UK visitors accounted for the largest market share of the sector – 6.4 percent – with 398,256 arrivals. During the same ten-month period in 1997, a total of 289,917 UK arrivals were recorded. Inbound markets from Scandinavia also performed well, with Norway up 40 percent; Denmark, up 31 percent; Sweden, up 30 percent; and Finland, up 18 percent. Germans – the second-largest European segment – surpassed the 300,000-mark during the latest ten-month period with 306,315 visitors. A total of 264,694 Germans were recorded during the same period a year ago. Australia and New Zealand also improved markedly, up 23.3 and 22.3 percent, respectively. The East Asian market – Thailand’s biggest inbound sector – posted a 2.3 percent decline year-on-year, pulled down by a steep drop from Korea. The Korean inbound market fell 57.5 percent as only 155,130 arrivals were recorded during the first ten months of the year. By contrast, a total of 364,815 Koreans travelled to Thailand during the same period a year ago. Tourist arrivals from Japan – Thailand’s top inbound market – were flat at 807,978. Double-digit gains in the Singapore and China inbound sectors helped offset some of the East Asian losses. Singaporean arrivals were up 26 percent to 356,644, while an additional 100,000 tourists from China were recorded during the period. Bright spots in other international markets included Canada, up 23.2 percent; South Africa, up 29 percent; and the United States, up 15.5 percent.