Ho Chi Minh City

A lone tourist sunbathes at the New World Hotel in the Vietnamese capital. After a long period of hardline Communist rule, economic restrictions have gradually been relaxed and there has been a flourishing of free enterprise, with a steady increase in tourism. The US lifted its trade embargo on the country five years ago and last month a new American consulate opened on the site of the old US embassy. It was from the latter's roof that Americans were dramatically airlifted in 1975 as the city (then called Saigon) fell to the invading North Vietnamese Army.