Elite card bounces back to life

Elite card bounces back to life

The operator of the Thailand Privilege card, also known as Thailand Elite card, has reported an improved performance, with accumulated losses steadily declining to 830 million baht at the end of March this year compared to 1.4 billion baht in 2009.

Pruet Boobphakam, president of Thailand Privilege Card Co Ltd (TPC), said on Monday revenue in the first six months of fiscal 2017 was 233 million baht, with 412 new members.

TPC targeted revenue of at least 400 million baht for all of 2017, with 412 new members in total.

The card, a brainchild of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, suffered huge losses for several years. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, its sole shareholder, had to allocate a budget of 200 million baht to sustain its operation at one point.

"We no longer need state budget now as we can effectively manage costs and operational expenses effectively, resulting in a steady decline of accumulated losses to 830 million baht from 1.4 billion baht in 2009," Mr Pruet said.

From fiscal 2017 ending September 30 this year, TPC has set a revenue target of 400 million baht, up 15% from 380 million baht in the previous fiscal year.

In the first six months of fiscal 2017 ending March, revenue jumped 47% year-on-year to 233 million baht, exceeding the target by 16.5%.

During the period, the company attracted 412 new members, bringing the total to 4,348 members as of May 2.

Since TPC resumed sales of memberships in 2013, it attracted 1,840 new members, led by those from England (19%), China (18%), US (12%), France and Japan (10%) and Australia and Bangladesh (7%).

Most of the members are investors, retirees and children under two years old.

"The Thailand Privilege cards help promote the economy and tourism as its members spend a lot on goods and services in Thailand, including golf courses, hospital services, spas, restaurants and others. Some of them also bought condominiums," Mr Pruet said.

Part of the success is due to the addition of news products. It now has seven types of cards from three earlier.

Also helping are its partnership with Henley & Partners Holdings, with 28 offices worldwide, and sales through 21 agents.

"Through the cooperation with Henley & Partners, we set the goal of 200 million baht in sales in the first year, 300 million in the second and 400 million in the third. For 2017, we hope to book sales of 560 million baht -- 400 million from our agents and 160 million through Henley," he said.

There are seven types of Thailand Privilege cards, which vary by prices and privileges. The prices range from 500,000 to 2 million baht each.

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