Responding to falling visitor numbers from China in Q1, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Thailand Authority of Tourism, has instructed the Thailand Privilege Card Company to design a new Thai Elite Visa package that includes a complete COVID-19 checkup and a complete range of health services in Thailand, according to the Bangkok Post.
President of the Thailand Privilege Card Company, Somchai Soongswang, said his organization was currently exploring two different ideas for the new package: A card that includes health insurance for inpatient and outpatient care and “a card for wellness services such as health check-ups to identify early risk of chronic diseases equipped with both modern medicine and traditional medicine services.”
The same newspaper also reports that, while visitor numbers from across the globe have, naturally, dropped precipitously from normal levels this time of year, the program has received a boost from Europeans already in the country now deciding to apply for their Thailand Elite visa.
A literally captive market
The company says that memberships sold in Q1 went mostly to international tourists who have been living temporarily in Thailand over the last month. Normally, commented Somchai, about 60% of applicants to the program live abroad but, following the state of emergency embarked upon in late March and the complete closure of flights in April, the new customers are chiefly tourists who were already in Thailand. Most of them, he said, are British, American, and Australian.
“Most of them are elderly who have confidence in Thailand’s health care system,” Somchai explained. “As the travel restrictions have made it difficult to sell membership cards to customers living outside Thailand, we have shifted our strategy to this group that has strong demand.”
Sales of memberships to international customers – who, for the moment, are unable to enjoy them – has been difficult, acknowledged the TPC president. Selling memberships to the people who were already in Thailand at the time of the lockdown, however, appears never to have been easier than now.
Even with falling numbers of Chinese applicants, who represent around a third of the total, TPC recorded a 9% increase in revenue in the six months to March 31st, compared to the same period last year. New memberships also rose by 7%, and the TPC said it expected total memberships to pass a historic 10,000 milestone this fiscal year, in spite of the pandemic.
“We maintain our projection of an additional 1.5 billion baht from at least 2,500 new memberships this year,” said Somchai.
Want to know more about the Thailand Elite Residence program? To see recent articles, statistics, official links, and more, please visit its Program Page. To see which firms can assist with applications to the program, visit the Residence & Citizenship by Investment Company Directory.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.