A publication of the Asian Development Bank No. 2     December 2008
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Secret Weapon of Viet Nam's Tourism

Relatively inexpensive Viet Nam is hoping that its tourism sector may benefit from the global downturn— or least suffer less than other holiday spots—for vacationers seeking better value.

Increasingly, the government is also focusing on the Viet Kieu—overseas Vietnamese—whom it calls its “secret weapon.”

The Viet Kieu are having a noticeable impact in niche tourism areas, including upmarket restaurants and bars targeting foreign tourists and well-to-do Vietnamese in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanh Do, a French Viet Kieu and owner of Bun Ta “Everything is Bun (noodle)” rice vermicelli bars in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City has seen an explosion of sophistication.

“The growth of savoir-faire among the Vietnamese in the past five years is incredible,” he notes. “The Viet Kieu from all continents who return as investors, workers or travelers does not stop increasing. It is a very good sign for the country.”