Thailand 's Tourism Authority recently introduced the world's first country loyalty scheme called the Thailand Elite Privilege Club. Membership is by invitation only.
Thailand’s marketing-savvy government continues to make waves. A while ago, we reported on plans to open hundreds of Thai restaurants around the world, in an elaborate franchise scheme set up by the Thai Department of Export both to promote Thai food and act as physical tourist brochures around the world. Now, targeting high net-worth individuals around the world, the country’s Tourism Authority has introduced a loyalty scheme, called the Thailand Elite Privilege Club. A world’s first, membership (which comes with the Thailand Elite Card) earns card holders benefits and discounts all over the kingdom, ranging from fast-track immigration at Don Muang Airport, heavy discounts on Thai Airways (buy one, get one free), special rates at five-star hotels, free golf at several courses, free limousine transfers, 24-hour concierge service, free spa treatments and medical check-ups, and five-year multiple entry visas allowing the cardholder to stay continuously in Thailand for 90 days. And it gets even better: next year (2005) will see hotels like the Thailand Elite Boutique Hotel, golf clubs, and entertainment centers that would be exclusive only to card holders. Perhaps most intriguingly, members can also ‘purchase’ second homes in Thailand. As foreigners aren’t allowed to own land in Thailand, purchases would be in the name of Thailand Privilege Co., the entity that runs the Thailand Elite program on behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The state tourist body, which is overseeing the promotion, is hoping to sign up at least 10,000 wealthy visitors to the program by the end of next year. Thailand’s president, Thaksin Shinawatra, has predicted that 200,000 members could eventually join. That’s a lot of newly minted Thai ambassadors!