Thailand Elite

The Thailand Elite program has been brought to my attention recently and, after checking out the website (thailandelite.com) I can say with all honesty that Thailand is for sale.

The tag-line shown during the flash intro to the site worries me:

“The best of Thailand is reserved for the elite”

I guess that means average Thai citizens are shit out of luck then! In fact, it is specifically noted on the website that Thai people are ineligible for the program.

One of the biggest benefits of this program is that it offers a ‘virtually indefinite stay visa’ (which means that it isn’t indefinite). Could it then be said that the Thailand Elite program is available ‘virtually for free’? Apparently the most basic form of membership is a cool one million baht and there are a number of additions to the basic package, one that allows you to schedule a meeting with the deputy prime minister to discuss anything you would wish.

Another addition to the basic package is the ability for foreigners to purchase land in Thailand, something that has always been impossible except through backwards methods (where the land is never in your name still).

Unfortunately, the law which would enable them to offer such a thing has failed to materialise at this point (some say it never will), but the company behind the Thailand Elite program are offering to ‘take care’ of your property until it is. This means it will be in their name – not yours.

Since it’s launch in 2003, the program was forecasted to attract around 3000 new members in the first year, but only managed under 900. This was accompanied by a failed television advertising campaign with CNN which netted zero new customers.

The reason this package would be attractive to most people is the immigration benefits, because Thai immigration for those not with the Thailand Elite program (or those who know the right people) is an absolute mess. The government decided that, instead of improving the existing system, they’d make another one that costs even more! Of course, they also doubled (in some cases tripled) the normal immigration prices.

Is there anyone who thinks that the Thailand Elite program is a good idea?

3 Comments so far

  1. teaz0r (unregistered) on June 26th, 2005 @ 4:28 pm

    the biggest mistake that TPC (thailand privelege card) ever did was promising their targeted audience the right to own land. they advertised that, before they got any clearance from the government regarding foreigners allowed to buy thai land.

    thai people don’t need this card though. the point is target people abroad to bring in money into the country. they’ve recently restructured the whole program.

    and honestly, 1 million baht = USD25,000, isn’t very elite. i know a bunch of universities that charge more than that for tuition.

    it could be an excellent programme to attract luxury travellers, but the problem with TPC is that ever since the old board members, and even the present board members, the don’t know shit about savvy luxury travelling. i think they need to employ opion leaders, perhaps get conde naste involve, and go into a full fledge campaign about luxury thailand.

    plus TPC folk are complete fucknuts to work with.


  2. him (unregistered) on June 26th, 2005 @ 5:50 pm

    You should read your subject matter a little more before ranting (perhaps going further than the flash intro?). The website clearly says

    “Thailand Elite will become the country


  3. Ben Harris (unregistered) on June 26th, 2005 @ 7:01 pm

    You’re both right that it is targeted towards foreigners with money. I didn’t stop to consider that Thai people would have absolutely no use for the benefits provided when writing.

    All of the information I’ve provided came from the Thailand Elite website (which I did read, although I freely admit I rant) and articles found here, here and here.



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