23 August 2002

Last-minute rural breaks by e-mail

MANY enquiries for farm holidays are now being made by e-mail, according to the Devon Farms Accommodation co-operative.

The group has just been awarded £21,000 to provide its members with one-to-one training in computer skills.

Spokesman Robin Head said: "The importance for individual farm accommodation operators to be able to receive e-mails has never been greater.

"One legacy of the foot-and-mouth crisis seems to be an accelerated tendency by the public to book last minute. Their preferred method is definitely the internet."

One farm which became computerised only last spring now receives three out of four enquiries as e-mails, Mr Head added.

Computer training

The computer training grant was made by Devon County Council out of a fund provided by the South West of England Rural Development Agency.

Two-thirds of Devon Farms 120 members have already signed up for training. &#42