Santo Domingo, Sep 7 (EFE).- The Dominican Republic on Sunday announced a 12.8 percent rise in foreign tourist arrivals during August, compared with the same month last year, an achievement that local authorities say is a new record for the sector.

The Dominican Tourism Ministry said that last month 424,715 tourists arrived in the country, raising total non-resident tourist arrivals for January-August 2014 to more than 3.6 million.

The ministry added that in August 2013 a total of 301,387 foreign tourists visited the country, a 9.1 percent hike over the same period a year before.

"That growth is another record that we have achieved this year, where we have an average overall growth of 9 percent, when the growth projected by the World Tourism Organization for this year oscillates between three and four percent," said the entity in a statement.

The United States was nation that sent the most tourists to the Caribbean country, providing 173,523 of the foreign visitors for August, 16.1 percent higher than during the same month in 2013, and it was followed by Canada, which provided 32,608 tourists, a 14.2 percent hike.

The ministry emphasized that other countries providing significant numbers of tourists in August were France, Germany, Russia, Spain, the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Argentina, England and Brazil, but it did not provide specific figures.

The ministry said that the increase is due to the generally favorable economic picture in the sending nations, as well as the Dominican Republic's tourism promotion campaign. EFE