The COVID-19 virus has somehow held the world in a cold grip that slows down its collective breathing. Everyone is undergoing significant changes because of this pandemic. For one, travel in and out of the countries struggling to cope with the virus is restricted.
Thailand in Southeast Asia is not an exception. Without doubt one of the booming tourism hubs in the region, the Kingdom has experienced a downtime in tourist arrivals as it has closed its borders to prevent the virus from spreading from within and from without.
This, however, has brought forth an unprecedented side effect to Thailand Elite. Instead of membership slowing down or coming to a standstill, Thailand Privilege Card Co. (TPC) actually saw a jump in applications and memberships in the past month alone.
Membership is the Stranded Tourist’s Way of Coping Up
With the emergency decree in place, no one can leave Thailand, not even tourists who have arrived in the Kingdom before the quarantine was put in place over the country. Normally, tourists will have to exit the country to satisfy visa requirements but, with a travel ban strictly enforced, they cannot do so.
Seeing no way to leave the country until after the decree is lifted in May, tourists are now seeing the necessity and the benefits from long stays in the Kingdom. This is where the Thailand Elite program comes in to help these tourists with its long-term visa validity.
According to the Bangkok Post, TPC reported that new card issuances climbed to 1,322 from October 1, 2019 to March 31 this year. Majority of these new members are from the US, Australia and the United Kingdom and all have been living in Thailand for at least the past month.
This new demand, the company says, is the reverse of the usual arrangement where more than half of applications are coming from foreigners abroad in preparation for their eventual vacation or even migration to the Kingdom.
This shows that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic threatening not only the Southeast Asian region, but the entire world, people still see the benefits of long-term stays in Thailand without immigrating.
The Future of Tourism for Thailand
Travel bans or restrictions will definitely have a significant impact on countries that thrive on tourism, like Thailand. However, the Thai government sees no long-term adverse effect on the nation as a result of COVID-19.
In fact, the government is now mulling over travel packages intended to accommodate travelers coming into the country after the initial quarantine, which is projected to end in May 30.
According to the news agency Thaiger, the Thai government is shifting its focus to tourists who stay for the long-term amidst fears of a second wave of the coronavirus.
Instead of quantity, the article said, the government is now seeking to encourage “quality” tourism by targeting arrivals in three of its major international hubs: Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
TPC itself is also seeing growth in the near future, as it expressed its confidence that the company will meet its revenue target of THB1.5 billion this year despite the changes brought about by the virus.
Rest assured, your travel plans to Thailand won’t be that affected by the pandemic once measures have been put in place by the Kingdom to keep locals and visitors safe post-COVID. Visit our membership page now and learn what perks you can enjoy from the Thailand Elite Visa program and how you can avail of those.