Reports of the death of the ill-fated Thai Elite Card seem premature as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is seeking new government-assisted funding to extend its life. The scheme, an initiative of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra aimed at wealthy foreigners, runs out of cash next month unless underwriting is secured.
Possible funding sources include an increase in the company’s paid-up capital along with borrowings from the TAT or other government agencies. There is also the possibility of taking all the Eite Card shares for resale to the public. Cabinet approval would be necessary if the new cash injection exceeds five million baht, according to one source
But Suraphon Svetasreni, TAT governor, ordered an end to the project, citing research conducted by Thammasat University and an opinion survey of the 2,567 Elite Card members showed that there was no future in the scheme.
When launched in 2006, Card purchasers were promised that they would be able to own land in their own names and enjoy a wide number of other privileges. Members paid up to half a million baht but were disappointed when most promises were unfulfilled.