BANGKOK: International tourist arrivals to Thailand surpassed the five million mark during the first eight months of the year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced. From January 1 through August 31, a total of 5,043,449 tourists were recorded by the TAT – a 5.6 percent increase over the same period last year. European markets, led by the United Kingdom, helped fuel the gain. A total of 322,815 U.K. tourists arrived through August, nearly 90,000 more than the first eight months of 1997. Scandinavian countries also fared well, with Denmark, Finland and Norway each recording double-digit year-on-year increases. Russian tourist totals, while still up for the year, have been steadily declining in recent months. Fewer than 1,700 Russian visitors arrived in each of the four months from May through August. The segment had earlier been viewed as a particularly promising new market.
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