When our travel partners Trump Tours announced a 2016 Ag tour of Vietnam, I was first in line.
Why? I've never been to Vietnam for starters, and I wanted to see for myself how this southeastern Asian country has transformed itself in the past 40 years. I hope you'll join me. We will be seeing firsthand the country's vibrant culture, food, history and people. The tour is set for Mar. 2-14, 2016.
To be sure, it's a country that evokes a lot of emotion and memories for many Americans - some not always positive, even for those of us who have never been there. Vietnam was on everyone's lips when I was growing up in the '60s and '70s. I remember watching the combat news footage during dinner time, and I remember the way Vets were mistreated when they came home from that unpopular war. That was a dark period in our country.
Thankfully our country took a good look in the mirror after that war. Eventually, we began treating Vietnam Vets the way they should have been treated all along – like heroes.
Things have changed in Vietnam since 1975, too. The Communists may have won the war but the government eventually realized changes needed to be made. In 1986 Vietnam introduced Doi Moi, its economic renovation policy, a key aim of which was to open Vietnam to foreign investment. The reforms introduced under this policy transformed the country from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy.
U.S. farmers who have toured there come home with glowing comments about the friendly people and dynamic business climate. One of my colleagues, Kansas Farmer editor P.J. Griekspoor, just came back from a USB tour of China and Vietnam and you can read some of her reports online at our sites.
What's more, grain buyers from many countries, including Vietnam, are touring our heartland right now – a sign that Vietnam is a growing ally and trade partner. Vietnam is one of 12 countries engaged in negotiating a new Trans Pacific Partnership, a deal that will potentially unlock millions in economic growth for the U.S. and Asia.
Over the past 25 years, Vietnam's economy has experienced rapid growth with historic highs in foreign direct investment and trade. In 2012 Vietnam was listed as the eighth most popular destination for transnational corporations' foreign direct investment. The Foreign Investment Agency reports that by June 2013 Vietnam had over 15,000 registered foreign investment projects, with a total registered capital of over $218 billion.
Vietnam has a very young population. The population is growing about 1% a year with a 5% growth in GDP.
Our tour will include visits to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). We'll visit small-scale farms, see diverse agriculture and learn about the farming economy of this interesting country. There's even a one-night stopover in Tokyo. Trump Tours can help arrange post tours of specific areas for veterans and their families.
I hope you will join me on what promises to be a very interesting journey. Check out the registration and call Trump Tours (1-800-758-2042) to learn more about the agenda.
Sound smart with your friends
Did you know?
Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over 1,000 years. It became independent in 939 AD.
Since 2000 Vietnam's economic growth rate has been one of the highest in the world.
It joined the World Trade Organization in 2007.