TPC prepares Elite cards for cave heroes
Thailand Privilege Card Co (TPC), the operator of Thailand Elite Card, is set to offer 105 Elite cards to honour the foreign rescuers of the stranded football team in Tham Luang Cave two months ago.
Mr Yuthasak says 105 cards are ready.
TPC has unveiled a new category of card called Elite Friends of Thailand specifically to reward the rescuers. The granting ceremony is scheduled to take place in Bangkok on Sept 6.
The recipients must meet the TPC's membership criteria and requirements. For example, they must be foreign nationals and be screened by law enforcement.
"Initially, 105 Elite Friends of Thailand cards, valued at 16 million baht, are being prepared for delivery. TPC is waiting for confirmation of the names being reviewed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry," said Yuthasak Supasorn, chairman of TPC and governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, the major shareholder of TPC.
The new card will be valid for five years with benefits including Privilege Entry Visa, limousine service from Suvarnabhumi airport up to 10 times per year, Elite Personal Assistance at Suvarnabhumi for arrival and departure, and exclusive arrival and departure lounge access.
TPC yesterday revealed 10-month performance between Oct 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018, showing a total revenue of 790 million baht, a 66.4% increase from 475 million baht from 10 months earlier.
Although rising sales and membership fees helped improve operations, the company still suffered cumulative operation losses of about 700 million baht in the 10-month period. The loss was lowered than the over 1 billion baht reported for the entirety of last year.
TPC does not plan to increase benefits as the existing privileges already satisfy the overall demands of members. However, it will prioritise in expanding the number of alliance service providers with hopes of providing more efficient services to cardholders.
Mr Yuthasak said that cardholders are long-stay expatriates who contribute significantly to the economy through high levels of spending especially in renting real estate, purchasing condominiums, and using business-related services from TPC's alliances, which are all together considered a kind of investment and expenditure within the country.
After 15 years in operation, TPC has 6,192 members, of which 2,452 are founding members.
The top 10 nationalities of cardholders are China, Britain, Japan, the US, France, Australia, Bangladesh, Russia, Germany and Switzerland, respectively.
In the fiscal year 2018 (October 2017-July 2018), there was a significant rise to 1,310 members, 27% growth year-on-year.
The largest group of new members are from China (29%), followed by Japan (8.3%), Britain (6.3%), France (6%), the US (5.4%) and other territories (45%). China and Japan are fast-growing markets with a large number of young business people coming into Thailand.
The top three best-selling card categories are Elite Easy Access, which costs 500,000 for solo travellers with five-year validity; Elite Superior Extension, which costs 1 million baht and is valid for 20 years; and the Elite Family Excursion, which costs 800,000 baht and is valid for eight years for short-stay visitors and families.