Although Vietnam is still a ‘new destination’, more and more visitors are drawn by the image of a country previously associated with war and conflict, but now revealed as a place of unspoilt natural beauty and culture. It has much to offer holidaymakers - friendly people, exotic ethnic cultures, spectacular scenery and beaches, plenty of things to see and do, and a well-deserved reputation as the safest country in Asia.
Our turbulent past of foreign occupation and warfare left the country in a cultural time warp. Although it’s modernising rapidly, centuries-old traditions, customs and practices have survived, and many are still thriving, hand in hand with modern technology. So far, we’ve escaped the worst of globalisation: no ‘McDonalds’, ’Starbucks’, and hardly any multinational companies.
Vietnam is changing, and changing rapidly. It’s a young country – 65% of its population is under 25 - and has made remarkable progress since opening its doors to foreign investment in the 1990’s. Vietnam’s progress in reducing poverty has far outstripped that of any other country. It has drastically reduced poverty, become the world’s second largest exporter of rice and coffee, and consistently maintained a high GDP growth rate.
For us Vietnamese, the pace of development is bewildering at times. We recognise that change must come, but fear that it may damage the precious culture and heritage for which so many of our predecessors fought and died.
Nevertheless, we welcome tourism. When the eyes of the world look upon our country’s buildings, traditions and natural beauty with approval, it builds pride and self-confidence among our people, and encourages us to treasure our past and conserve it for future generations.