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The controversial Thailand Elite Card set to make a reappearance next year

The new president of the Thailand Privilege Card Co (TPC) is set to spearhead the controversial Thailand Elite Card operation that will see the Luxury Elite Card back on the market next year.

Apisit Chucenchompoo, 50, was chosen for the top post after the operation had been in limbo for three and half years. During that period, it was the responsibility of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The TAT owns 100 per cent of TPC.

The Luxury Thailand Elite card is a snip at just two million baht and will give the holder a five-year visa exemption and other nationwide Thailand eliteprivileges. The concept was the brainchild of Thaksin Shinawatra during his term as prime minister. However the company has faced its fair share of controversyespecially over political interference and discontinuous management, which led to its failure to meet its business ambitions. Currently, there are 1,540 foreign members.

Apisit said it would be a big challenge to put TPC back on a business track. Aggressive plans will be launched to bring in new members next year, with a target of at least 1,300. He urged all stakeholders in the operation to make a joint effort to promote the Elite card successfully.

“This work is for our nation. The business still has more opportunity. We have to work together and have a clear direction via a strategic promotional policy. This will help revitalize our economy as well,” he said.

He plans to modernize the company’s operation, along with looking for ways to increase revenue. More important, more than Bt90 million in debts will be cleared next year.

The company will no longer depend on revenue from card sales, but will also earn commission fees from business partners joining the TPC service network.

He projected that over the next five years, revenue would come equally from card sales and commission fees. Spa, fashion and shopping outlets are on the list of potential business partners. Many Elite cardholders are businesspeople who invest here, and undertake various economic activities via local service providers.

Apisit plans to appoint more sales agents, up from six currently to increase the number of members,. Besides other Southeast Asian nations, overseas markets in his focus include India, Japan and South Korea.

The firm now has Bt30 million for cash flow to run the operation. At present, its fixed costs per month total Bt10 million. To run the business more strategically, the firm needs Bt200 million in new funding.

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