INTRODUCTION Vietnam recently celebrated Tet, the traditional Chinese new Year, as the government implemented plans to expand the country's economy.
GVs Street scene in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2 shots)
SVs Goods on sale from market stalls (6 shots)
SV Blossom on plum trees in Hanoi, Vietnam
GVs PAN People carrying plum tree plant through streets (3 shots)
SV Woman selling artificial flowers
SVs Small orange trees being sold (3 shots)
SV & CU Goldfish on sale (2 shots)
SV Celebration banners on houses
CU Celebration posters on sale
SV & GV Lanterns on sale (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION Vietnam recently celebrated Tet, the traditional Chinese new Year, as the government implemented plans to expand the country's economy.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands turned out in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, to buy provisions for the celebrations. The South is still a sensitive issue in the north, which led a spartan life during the 20 years of war.
The communist government has restricted north-south contacts, except at military and party levels. Visits between the two are strictly controlled, despite the recent opening of the trans-Vietnam railway for the first time in 30 years. Goods left behind by the Americans and former south Vietnamese government are barred from the north. Both Vietnamese and foreigners need permits to travel from one area to the other.
In Hanoi, the frugal food rations were lifted for the new year holiday. Thousands visited the flower markets to buy the traditional plum tree blossoms which are a feature of the celebrations. Euphoria stemming from the 1975 communist victory is obvious in the city, and the unity between the former north and south Vietnams is stressed by tour guides.
To foreign visitors, poverty seems widespread and housing seems a serious problem. But Vietnamese officials expect the government's economic reconstruction programme to change this. For the past 21 months the country has been rebuilding its industrial and agricultural base. The first five-year plan, unveiled late last year, calls for rapid increases in exports, especially of agricultural and light industrial products, and a broadening of foreign trade relations.
This year it's planned to increase industrial output by 20 percent, construction by 43 percent, exports by 55 percent and the overall national income by 16 percent. Earning foreign exchange has become a major priority and the government's encouraging visiting tourists.