Thailand’s sought-after Thailand Elite Residence Program has seen a significant increase in applications from US citizens since the start of the year and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest sales figures reveal that the number of US applicants in the first three months of 2020 is already more than 50% of the total US applicants for the whole of 2019. This is due in part to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions, with US citizens currently in Thailand opting to stay and enjoy the benefits of living in Thailand on a more permanent basis. However, US application numbers from outside the country have also spiked, with Q1 2020 recording a 100% increase in US applicants compared to both Q1 2019 and Q4 2019.
Dominic Volek, Managing Partner and Head of Southeast Asia at leading international residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners, says Thailand continues to be the destination of choice for entrepreneurs and investors. “Entrepreneur investors remain the largest category of applicants for the Thailand Elite Residence Program thanks to Thailand’s excellent global reputation as a business center and innovation hub.”
A similar recent surge in demand to reside in Thailand can be seen in applicants from Australia, afflicted this summer by both devastating bush fires and the coronavirus. Compared to Q1 2019, there was a staggering increase of 228% in Australian applicants in Q1 2020, and 130% when compared to Q4 2019.
The Thailand Elite Residence Program has gone from strength to strength since Henley & Partners were appointed as the global concessionaire in 2017, with sales increasing by 70% over the past three years. According to Mr. Somchai Soongswang, President of Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd., the operator of Thailand Elite Card, “Henley & Partners has contributed a tremendous effort to promote the program, and Thailand is seeing the benefits.”
The Thailand Elite Residence Program now has over 8,600 members — a figure that is expected to cross the 10,000 mark this year. Over the past three years there has been significant uptake by certain nationalities in particular; the numbers of British and French applicants have increased by 75% and 73%, respectively, while the number of Japanese applicants has risen by a remarkable 161%.