Get the message There was a time when a simple poster featuring a pleasant picture and the name of a country was enough to keep its tourism industry afloat. These days that approach won't sustain advertising agencies or maintain inflated budget allowances for tourist boards. Hence the need for 'creativity' in travel marketing. Tourism Australia, however, has decided to abandon the slogan that asked potential visitors to the country, 'So where the bloody hell are you?' Criticised at home and abroad as being vulgar and meaningless to most non-Aussies, the campaign, which was banned in some countries (including Britain, briefly) is reported to have cost A$180 million (HK$1.3 billion) but failed to produce significant tourism gains. The search for a new approach and a celebrity to front it is underway. Austria, meanwhile, has adopted a more sober approach. Following what a press release describes as a 'thorough brand development process with the aim of defining the experiences and values that distinguish a holiday in Austria from all other European destinations', the Austrian National Tourist Office has chosen the immortal line: 'It's got to be Austria.' Game plan Swire Travel's The Luxury of South Africa package offers six nights' accommodation and two days of exclusive safari trips in Kruger National Park from an initially alarming HK$62,990. Further investigation of what this trip includes, though, makes it an attractive offer for those with the necessary means. Accommodation includes three nights at the luxurious Cape Grace hotel on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (above left) in Cape Town ( www.capegrace.com ) and three nights at either Singita Lebombo (above right) or Sweni safari lodge (the former is best for trendy types while the latter is more traditional but no less exclusive). Singita properties ( www.singita.com ) offer all meals and free-flowing premium alcohol (including fine wines and well-stocked minibars) and two safari drives each day to guests. Valid until the end of next month, the package includes several flights on top of the Cathay Pacific economy-class flights to and from Johannesburg, including light aircraft hops to Nelspruit and on to the reserves for the Singita portion of the trip, and flights down to Cape Town and back to Johannesburg. If you want to fly the Hong Kong to South Africa leg in business class, the package price is HK$84,890. To receive a full itinerary by fax or e-mail, call Maggie Cheng on 3151 8793 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Lording it Cox & Kings, 'the world's longest established travel company' (founded 1758), is organising a tour of China to be accompanied by Lord Hurd, perhaps best known in Hong Kong as Douglas Hurd, British foreign secretary under the Conservative government from 1989 to 1995. From 1954 to 1956 he worked in Beijing for the diplomatic service and has long been a keen student of Chinese history. As a result, his credentials are a cut or two above the average tour guide's. The nine-day tour begins on October 4 and takes in Beijing, the Great Wall, Xian, Nanjing and Shanghai, and includes three talks along the way by Lord Hurd. Hong Kong travellers can hook up with the tour in Beijing and leave it in Shanghai, the final destination. The tour price, not including flights, is #2,525 (HK$39,200). Left-leaning travellers might prefer Cox & Kings' trip to Cuba with British Labour Party politician Roy Hattersley in November. Visit www.coxandkings.co.uk for details. Something for the weekend Upmarket Bali resort Uma Ubud is selling a Weekender package that includes a selection of extras such as round-trip transfers between Denpasar Airport and Ubud, daily a la carte breakfast, a three-course set dinner and a 60-minute Como Shambhala or Indonesian massage. Prices, which will be available until the end of the year, start from US$650 (double occupancy) for a terrace room and go up to US$1,065 for the Shambhala suite, although a 21 per cent government tax and service charges apply. To make reservations, visit the resort website at www.uma.como.bz . Back in your cave If you're planning to visit Bangalore on Dragonair's daily service, which starts in May, here's an interesting hotel possibility. Guhantara is a cave hotel located about 20km outside the southern Indian city. It describes itself as an 'ethnic prehistoric themed resort' and runs exclusively on solar power. The website is a bit heavy on the back-to-basics rhetoric ('take a plunge into the past spanning epochs and watersheds in history') but the photo galleries are impressive. Room rates start from 3,500/4,500 rupees (HK$685/$880) for single/double occupancy. Visit www.guhantara.com and be sure to scroll down to the Panoramic View link at the bottom of the main page. Deal of the week The Travel Ho Chi Minh City package, offered by Farrington American Express Travel for departures until March 29, starts from HK$2,090 for two nights at the Omni Saigon ( www.omnisaigonhotel.com ), which is closer to the airport than to the city (below). More centrally located options include the Caravelle ( www.caravellehotel.com ) for HK$3,150; the Sofitel Plaza ( www.sofitel.com ) for HK$2,850; and the Park Hyatt ( www.hyatt.com ) for HK$4,350. Also included in these prices are round-trip, economy-class flights with Vietnam Airlines, daily breakfast and travel insurance. Flights depart Hong Kong at 2.45pm, arriving Ho Chi Minh City at 4.15pm, and return at 10.05am, arriving Hong Kong at 1.45pm. For further details, call Farrington American Express Travel on 3121 3000 (Hong Kong), 3121 3900 (Kowloon) or e-mail email@example.com , quoting Package ID: L2007FSP0239.