Political unrest fuels growth in Thailand Privilege Card membership

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

Political unrest and geopolitical conflicts worldwide have propelled the Thailand Privilege Card’s membership count to a staggering 3,871, according to the card’s operator.

The card’s operator, Thailand Privilege Card Co (TPC), noted that the long-stay visa, spanning from five to 20 years across four membership categories, has been a significant draw for individuals in countries facing severe political challenges. Russia, for instance, has seen a significant increase in card holders since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began.

Out of 36,397 card members, Russians now make up the fifth-largest market, boasting 1,132 members, a notable rise from their previous seventh and eighth positions. As of February 29, there were 86 Ukrainian members. Other emerging markets for the card include Myanmar, with 535 members, and Taiwan, with 1,236 members.

Despite this, China remains the leading market for the card, formerly known as the Thailand Elite card, accounting for 45% of total membership, an increase from 38% in 2022. The subsequent largest markets are Japan, the US, the UK, and Russia.

TPC members typically spend more time in Thailand than regular visitors, averaging 3.6 trips annually and spending around 50 days per trip. This results in an average expenditure of 7,000 to 10,000 baht (US$200 to US$280) per individual, contributing approximately 38 billion baht (US$1.06 billion) to Thailand’s tourism revenue last year.

Even amidst the first three months of 2024, 75% of members remained active travellers, visiting the country frequently. This trend has led the company to aim for 8,000 new members in 2024, with the overall trips by card members expected to contribute at least 50 billion baht (US$1.4 billion) to the economy this year.

The company managed to generate a profit of 841 million baht (US$23.4 million) for its most significant shareholder, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), last year. This marked the third year in a row that the company maintained profitability, following profits of 138 million baht (US$4 million) in 2021 and 628 million baht (US$17.5 million) in 2022.

The cumulative profit of 1.6 billion baht (US$ 44.5 million) has already surpassed the initial 700 million baht (US$ 19.5 million) of registered capital that TAT invested into the company, reported Bangkok Post.

However, a restructuring of the Thailand Privilege Card in October 2023, which included a 50% price increase, may result in fewer new members this year compared to the 11,846 individuals who joined last year. Nevertheless, with membership costs now ranging from 900,000 baht to 5 million baht (US$25,000 to US$139,000), depending on the category, the company anticipates an increase in revenue growth from 7.6 billion baht (US$ 212 million) last year to 8 billion (US$223 million) baht this year.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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