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Michael O'Doherty: Nice one Hookie, not only have you put me off ever buying Sky ... now I never want to go to New Zealand

OUR tourism industry is dying on its arse.

The number of people visiting Ireland has dropped by 12pc in the past year, with an even more worrying 19pc drop in revenue from these tourists.

The number of people using Dublin Airport, estimated to be 26 million this year, will actually be 19 million, a drop that occurs just as the second terminal is finally completed.


But imagine how much worse it would be without George Hook, who continues to do his bit for Irish tourists.

The corpulent commentator has bounced back after his last wheeze, an attempt to lure hundreds of punters on a 'Cruise With George Hook' to hear him share his tips on how to combat the recession, win the next rugby World Cup, and polish off a trough of jumbo prawns in 30 seconds flat.

Yesterday, he was once more trying to entice us away, this time to New Zealand.


Quite what George is doing writing a travel piece about a country that is hardly in the mix when Irish people are tossing around potential destinations, is anyone's guess, but even more bizarre is George's lukewarm plug for New Zealand in his article.

"New Zealand is fabulously boring," reads the first line, and that's about as exciting as it gets. George describes one of the highlights of his holiday as being a table quiz in a lodge in the middle of nowhere, declares that a day is perfectly ample to take in the sights of Christchurch, and waxes lyrical about a plate of cod and chips.

George, as we all know, is well capable of conveying rapturous enthusiasm at the most banal things, as afficionados of his Sky TV commercials will testify, with the latest gem for its HD channels showing George in ecstasy about the colour definition when watching nature documentaries.

So why does he portray New Zealand in so banal a manner? Surely it isn't the fact that the wads of cash Sky give George weren't matched by the New Zealand Tourism Authority?


Or that the country, for all its natural beauty and eco-friendly attitudes, didn't tickle George quite where it matters most. His wallet? Nah, it couldn't be, but I'll tell you what.

Not only has George managed to put me off ever subscribing to Sky TV, he's now put me off ever going to New Zealand.

Humble pie, me and the Burlington

I haven't worn a bow tie to serve customers since my days as a lounge boy in the Leopardstown Inn, but I haven't lost the knack, as readers will be able to see in tomorrow's Herald.

The menu consisted of humble pie, washed down with a mea culpa tea, as I was called upon to serve a table of ex-waiting staff from the Burlington Hotel in an attempt to appease them after referring to them as, well...

Buy the paper and you'll find out.