Thai membership card seeks Cambodian elites

A Thai privilege card program that costs nearly $15,000 to join is banking on Cambodia’s robust yet deeply polarised economy to provide up to 60 new card members a year.

Thailand Elite Privilege Card Co, a subsidiary of Thailand’s tourism authority that operates the Thailand Elite privilege card, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodian firm WorldBridge International Co Ltd on Friday to promote its membership card in Cambodia.

Pruet Boobphakam, president of Thailand Elite Privilege Card, said that this was the first time the company had signed an operating agreement with a Cambodian counterpart, and the company projects that the partnership could result in 60 additional members a year, generating $853,000 in dues.

“We aim to further develop and enhance the many privileges under the card in order to promote tourism,” he said, adding that the Thailand Elite card currently has around 3,000 members and is sold across 10 countries worldwide.

Membership for the privilege card is based on a multi-tier platform, with an entry-level card with five-year validity and limited privileges costing $14,216. Full membership costs $56,868 plus annual fees and is valid for 20 years.

“Members gain a lot of exclusive benefits from us like express services and healthcare benefits,” Pruet said.

He explained that the Thailand Elite card can fast-track visa and border arrivals for Cambodians or expatriates living in the Kingdom, and can be used for transportation from hotels to airports in Thailand.

For healthcare, the card provides discounts at high-calibre Thai hospitals. It also provides discounts for golfing, spas and selected restaurants and businesses in Thailand.

WorldBridge chairman Rithy Sear said the Thailand Elite card was aimed at promoting luxury services while capitalising on cross-border tourism that is anticipated to increase as ASEAN regional economic integration slowly gains traction.

“The Elite privilege card is designed to attract all international tourists visiting Thailand for business or holiday, and who can afford membership,” he said.

The MoU would allow those who purchase the card through WorldBridge to receive the same benefits as those who apply directly in Thailand.

According to the company’s website, the card-carrying membership-initiative dates back to a 2003 Thai cabinet resolution aimed at generating revenues from high-end visitors, businesspeople, investors and long-stay groups.

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