Big changes are transforming the central Vietnamese city of Danang into a booming travel and business destination. The number of foreign visitors to the city has nearly quadrupled over the past eight years. Its economy has been growing at around 10 per cent annually, almost double the national level.
And it has begun attracting attention not only for tourism, but as a model city leading the country into the future.
Cooperation among local politicians and residents has brought modern infrastructure and political change to the city, which has developed independently from the state government and is often dubbed the "Singapore of Vietnam."
After a several-kilometer drive on a triple-lane road from My Khe Beach, one of the country's finest, into town, a big yellow bridge in the shape of a dragon appears in sight. Beyond the bridge, the Danang city hall, high-rise apartments and luxury hotels stand in tidy rows. This city is clearly different from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where narrow roads weave their way though a jumble of old and new buildings.