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Iceland offers digital horsepower to cover emails on holiday

Let your email horse around a bit. ©AFP

Reykjavik (AFP) - Is your out-of-office reply not enough for you to let go of the reins?Icelandic horses can now reply to your emails instead, in a free service just launched by a tourism marketing agency.

In a whimsical promotional video, the Icelandic agency reveals the secret to the service: a giant keyboard set against the backdrop of the island's scenic landscape upon on which horses -- of the famous Icelandic breed -- happily stomp.

The results may not contain the same professional tone as a personal secretary would, instead the horses opt for more unorthodox greetings such as "JJJJJJJJJ" or "8io:l:;l:oiiþ::".

Still some 8,000 people have already signed up for the service, dubbed "OutHorse Your E-mail."

"Iceland has launched its 'OutHorse Your E-mail' service to help travellers disconnect and enjoy everything the country has to offer, without interruption," Sigridur Dogg Gudmundsdottir, head of Visit Iceland, told AFP. 

Iceland's small horses -- sometimes mistaken for ponies -- are one of the country's most famous exports. 

In the video, which has more than 130,000 views since it was posted online, a tourist played by an actress is annoyed at receiving dozens of emails while visiting some of Iceland's beautiful sites, from walking on the Solheimajokull glacier to diving in the clear waters of the Silfra fault or taking a selfie at a geyser eruption. 

The tourist agency, which was inspired to launch the service after its own survey showed that 55 percent of people say they check their email at least once a day while on holiday, has a track record of ads that go viral.

In July 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it encouraged its visitors to vent frustrations by screaming on an online platform and then broadcasting the sound to seven deserted locations around the country. 

Last autumn, it parodied Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg's much-discussed Metaverse with an idyllic "Icelandverse".