Privilege Card posts solid profit

Privilege Card posts solid profit

The growth in membership of the Thailand Privilege Card has been attributed in a large part to geopolitical conflict and political unrest in numerous countries, with the number of members from such countries surging to 3,871, according to the operator of the card.

Manatase Annawat, president of Thailand Privilege Card Co (TPC), the operator of the card, said with the benefit of a long-stay visa in all four membership categories, ranging in duration from 5-20 years, the company has been able to attract more members from countries that are facing serious political issues, such as Russia. The number of Russian card members has doubled since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, Mr Manatase noted.

Of the card’s 36,397 members, the Russian market has risen to fifth place, up from seventh and eighth previously, with 1,132 members at present. As of Feb 29, there were 86 Ukrainian members.

Other emerging markets include Myanmar, with 535 members, and Taiwan, which has 1,236 members.

However, he said the leading market for membership of the Thailand Privilege Card, formerly known as the Thailand Elite card, was still China, which accounted for 45% of the total membership, up from 38% in 2022, followed by Japan, the US, the UK, and Russia.

Mr Manatase said TPC members tend to stay longer in Thailand than regular visitors, with an average of 3.6 trips per year, spending an average of 50 days per trip. The average expenditure per head tallied 7,000-10,000 baht, which helped generate revenue of around 38 billion to tourism in the country last year.

He said 75% of members were active travellers as they still frequently visited the country during the first three months of 2024, prompting the company to target 8,000 new members in 2024. Overall trips by card members should contribute at least 50 billion baht to the economy this year, he added.

The company last year was able to record 841 million baht in profit for its biggest shareholder — the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said Mr Manatase.

Last year was the third consecutive year that the company was able to maintain profitability, after generating profits of 138 million baht in 2021 and 628 million baht in 2022.

The total repayment of 1.6 billion baht which the profits represent already exceeds the 700 milion baht in registered capital which the TAT allocated to the company in its early stage.

Mr Manatase said as the company restructured the Thailand Privilege Card in October 2023, which included a 50% price hike, the number of new members this year may be fewer than the 11,846 recorded last year.

However, as the current price now starts from 900,000 baht and runs up to 5 million baht depending on the membership category, the company expects to secure revenue growth from 7.6 billion baht last year to 8 billion this year.

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