TOURIST arrivals in October recorded a modest rise of 3.8 per cent to 887,779, according to the latest figures from the Hong Kong Tourist Association. The number of visitors from China staged a spectacular comeback, hoqwever, jumping 22.5 per cent to 184,289 and forming the largest single group of arrivals during the month. Their numbers had declined in the first few months of the year, mainly as a result of the austerity measures imposed on the mainland, which curtailed expenditure on travelling by businessmen and officials. The number of Japanese visitors continued to recover, growing 7.7 per cent to 120,067. Japanese visitors are important to the territory - they are considered high-yield tourists because of their strong spending power. The appreciation of the yen was also seen as fuelling the recovery of the Japanese tourists. Despite the strong results in the two markets, weaknesses persisted in the overall numbers arriving in the territory. Taiwan, which was the leading group last year, continued to fall, by 5.8 per cent to 143,517. The island has yet to recover from the fallout from the government's ban on tour groups visiting China in April, which hit Hong Kong particularly hard because more than half of those groups enter China via the territory. The ban was lifted in May. However, the incident and the resultant ill-feeling which has continued between Beijing and Taipei have dampened what was an increasingly important visitor source for the territory. Visitors from the Southeast Asian region also continued to decline, falling 6.8 per cent to 108,533, suggesting that Hong Kong is becoming too expensive. In the first 10 months of the year, arrivals grew 3.4 per cent to 7.6 million, short of the figure targeted earlier in the year. Arrivals from North America, which had recovered earlier in the year, decrease 3.3 per cent to 100,963. The results are likely to raise concerns because autumn has traditionally been the peak season for the industry. The shortage of hotel rooms, which has given hoteliers the opportunity to raise room rates, was seen as a contributing factor, with potential visitors being put off by the new rates.