My first day was a break to get over the long flight from New Zealand, so I thought I would just take a walk and unwind.
That was my first mistake - one cannot walk and unwind in Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic is crazy, motorbikes everywhere and it seemed to me that traffic lights and pedestrian crossings were indicative only.
It took me a while to build up courage to cross roads. Have a look at these images and you will get a feel for what I am talking about, but they don't do justice to the real life experience!
Next day was to set up the first Trade tasting which was organised by the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise team here. It was an excellent event with great turnout and an ideal showcase for New Zealand Food and Wine. From this event I was able to make appointments with several potential distributors and have since had follow up meetings, with positive outcomes.
Again, the accompanying photographs don't do justice to the quality of the event, nor the venue (Park Hyatt, Saigon). I was very impressed with the interest of both consumers and the wine trade in New Zealand wines, however we do face a challenge in achieving sales in a market which has been dominated to date by French and Chilean wine producers. They have got a big start on us and we have a lot of ground to make up. But, as in all markets the people who are prepared to do the hard yards, pounding the streets and building relationships, will be the ones who succeed in Vietnam.
Friday and Saturday I spend following upon sales leads, and then our stay in Ho Chi Minh City finished Saturday night at the 14th Annual NZ Wine & Food Festival in Vietnam.
Another great wine and food event showcasing NZ wines.
Today, Sunday I fly up to Hanoi to do it all again!