Little interest in Thailand Elite Card
The Thailand Elite Card is strugglingThe Thailand Elite Card, a privileged VIP card, designed to give huge privileges to wealthy foreign tourists visiting Thailand, is struggling to stay alive.
Members subscribing for the Elite Card is not anywhere near the 100,000 members projected by the Thailand Privilege Card Co Ltd for this date.
Thailand Privilege Card Co Ltd has so far sold only 400 Elite Cards, a very far cry from the Thai government’s ambitious target of 1 million cards it hoped to sell to well-heeled Thailand visitors.
The executives of the Thailand Privilege Card company are now planning road-shows to Europe, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and the Middle East to promote the Thailand Elite card as the he company must increase its membership by at least 99,600 members by the end of this year, which will not be an easy task to achieve.
One of the main promotion features of the VIP card and part of the Thai government's efforts to attract "Premium Visitors" to Thailand, is a claim that owing a Privilege Card, gives foreigners the right to buy and possess property and land in Thailand for residential purposes, but the exact legal status of such ownership is still very uncertain as it violates completely the current land ownership legislation in Thailand.
The Elite Card company says that the Thailand Privilege Card is the world’s first "Country Privilege Membership Card" offered on the market and offers a large array of incentives for it's members, such as free first-class Thai Airways travel and VIP treatment upon arrival in Thailand plus a special 5-year, multiple-entry visa.
The card also provides free access to a 24-hour multi-language call centre, which keeps Elite Members informed about golf, massage and health services, as well as different discounts offered by hotels and restaurants all over the Kingdom.
There are 3-types of Elite Card available: An individual card costing 1 million Baht (US$ 25,650) with transferable lifetime membership for one person, an individual card for foreigners living in Thailand priced at 2 million Baht (US$ 51,300) and a corporate card costing 2 million (US$ 51,300) with a 30-year membership for two people.
Prakit Chinamournpong, secretary-general of the Thai Hotels Association, said the Thailand Elite Card still had to create enthusiasm among wealthy visitors and the local tourist industry because very few of the actual members have currently used the advantages that come with the Elite Card membership.
Since the official launch of the Thailand Elite Card last year by PM Thaksin Shinawatra, the VIP card has not generated a lot of interest from the rich and wealthy that are visiting Thailand, Prakit Chinamournpong said. The Thai Hotels Association is now seeking information from its members nationwide about the extent to which the Elite Cards have been used in the associated hotels and resorts in Thailand.
Thailand Privilege Card has recently appointed Patco Siam Holding Co as its marketing representative for Singapore and Malaysia, where the Elite Card company will try to attract wealthy tourist to buy a card. Vichitra Sukhamongkom, chairman of the company, said that Thailand would try to recruit some 5,000 members in those 2 countries alone.
Last week, Juthamas Siriwan, head of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, attended the IBT-Berlin Travel Fair in Europe, where she tried in vain to generate enthusiasm for the Thailand Elite Card in the European market. The Elite Card is a very important tool to help substantially increase the number of international business and economic leaders to Thailand, she said.
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-- George Orwell