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International Tourism expert Yesterady at IT Sligo Questions why Anyone Holidays in Ireland

An international tourism expert, speaking at a tourism and hospitality conference at IT Sligo yesterday said he would never recommend Dublin to anyone for a short break as the city is a "rip-off".

He also said he could not imagine wanting to come to Ireland if it was not for a conference or business.

Professor Michael Hall from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand was speaking yesterday at the  thirteenth annual Tourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference underway at  IT Sligo yesterday and today.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Entrepreneurs driving tourism and hospitality’.

The event brings together all the latest research on the tourism and hospitality sector and offers fresh insight into how Ireland and the North West can unlock its tourism potential.

150 of the country’s leading tourism professionals and researchers from both Ireland and across the world are in attendance.

According to today’s Irish independent, Professor Hall said he was "horrified" when he went to book a hotel room for a Saturday night in Dublin and found that one night would cost more than two nights in Helsinki with the same hotel chain.

"I would never, ever recommend anyone to come to Dublin for a short break because I think it is an absolute rip-off," said the academic, who was charged €400 for a night in Dublin.

Pressed on why he would not recommend Dublin, Mr Hall said he had visited before "and quite frankly having a weekend shared with stag nights is not my idea of a good time".

Mr Hall added he could not imagine wanting to come to Ireland if it was not for a conference or business.

"Why would I come round the other side of the world to Ireland?" he asked.

"There are lots of [other] beautiful countries. It is not particularly cheap.

"At the airport, what am I met with? James Joyce and Beckett, in terms of advertising. Come on. Where is the contemporary stuff? You also have the Irish jig playing in the background for the promo."

The tourism expert also warned that Ireland's image was being affected by international media coverage of issues such as clerical abuse or the recent investigation into British actor Stephen Fry for alleged blasphemy.

Mr Hall was also critical of the delays at passport control in Dublin Airport where he said he was held up for 40 minutes on arrival last Monday.

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