New wave spoils Elite cardholders' plans

New wave spoils Elite cardholders' plans

No quarantine, limiting virus key to revival

Foreign tourists pose for a photograph at Bangkok's Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Phra Chetuphon amid Covid-19. Apichart Jinakul
Foreign tourists pose for a photograph at Bangkok's Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Phra Chetuphon amid Covid-19. Apichart Jinakul

The Thailand Privilege Card Co (TPC) is banking on the Phuket tourism sandbox model to bring new arrivals who are Thailand Elite Card members after the resurgence of the virus delayed their travel plans to Thailand indefinitely.

"No quarantine -- like the Phuket sandbox concept -- and containing the virus are key factors to help existing members finalise their decision to visit Thailand," said Somchai Soongswang, president of TPC, the operator of the Thailand Elite Card service.

As of April 15, 1,100 tourists had visited Thailand under the Thailand Elite Members Quarantine Programme approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) back in August 2020.

Meanwhile, 1,500 members who expressed a desire to visit Thailand are still waiting for documents to be processed, available flights, or wish to get vaccines in their home country first before travelling.

Some members had already received certificates of entry (COE) but they postponed their plans due to the latest wave.

After Songkran, only 69 members requested to visit Thailand, down from over 100 per week as everyone wants to wait until the situation improves.

As part of Elite Flexible One, which is aiming to drive property sales by offering a 500,000-baht membership for a five-year multiple-entry visa to those who buy 10-million-baht properties in Thailand, Mr Somchai said a property developer had already received a potential bid but the negotiation was interrupted by the new outbreak as the buyer delayed their decision.

During the first half of fiscal year 2021 (Oct 1, 2020-Mar 31, 2021), TPC approved 2,552 new members, a growth of 93% compared to 1,322 from the same period last year.

Of the new members, 26% are in the 40-49 age group and 24% are in the 30-39 bracket, which surpassed the retirement age group (23.7%) for the first time.

He said younger members are mostly digital nomads or those who work as programmers or software engineers, especially from Japan, the US and Europe.

TPC will work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to offer products that serve the specific demands of this group, including a shorter visa period of less than five years and co-working spaces with useful facilities.

He said the firm will achieve its target of getting 2,600 new members by April which will help them end accumulated losses of 240 million baht this fiscal year.

The number of Elite cardholders reached 13,564 as of March 30.

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