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The world - a place of retreat, not just your last resort

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Half the people in the street are going on holiday to Thailand, the other half are going to the Caribbean.

These choices are the result of a desire to do the right thing, as opposed to taking a risk.

The limited holiday period is too precious to fritter away on a trek across the Andes, which might prove to be a disaster. Anyway, who would you meet in the Andes and what are the opportunities for wife-swapping like in deepest South America? Ten to 15 years ago the Caribbean and Thailand were considered exotic, but now this appeal has waned.These destinations have gone the same way as part of the coast of Turkey.As the rest of the world begins to cash in on cheap flights, we see coastal Brazil, Chile and some parts of Africa trying to compete in the mass tourist market.

In the near future the Mediterranean coast will be relatively deserted and rather beautifully empty. What is this future?

Imagine large concrete-framed blocks of empty hotels where the disco is deserted and the bar functions on the ailing chords of Tom Jones' latest hit.

The blocks themselves are very forgiving.

They can be converted into houses, ateliers and garages, greenhouses and laundries.

Given the problems some of the new universities have in filling their places, there might be a future for some of them to relocate to the summer conditions of the Mediterranean. Stevenage or Saragosa?

Bedford or Benidorm? The lure of the resort could revive interest in tired old courses. Even media studies might seem relevant.

These destinations offer an opportunity for all UK residents.While the cold beaches and horizontal rain to be found in north Norfolk in December are not to be missed, February is a good time to travel further afield - perhaps a sojourn in Mexico or a plod in Peru. Then London, of course, is the place to be until the beginning of June, when the Costa Brava calls.

A summer that lasts until the end of September, when one returns to Blighty for the Christmas run-up of lectures, parties and work. At last it is possible, without being rich, to make a correlation between time and the surface of the earth. You might think I am advocating a lot of holidaying, but in fact I am not suggesting any.There used to be much talk and debate about the virtues of decentralization and centralization of our cities. It would appear, at present, that the argument for making our cites more dense, and protecting what is left of our countryside, is compelling from an environmental point of view. (I happen to think that the conclusions are a little kindergarten in their simplicity, but perhaps that is another article. ) It therefore follows that, those parts of the world that have lost their raison d'etre will, and perhaps should, become the decentralized part of the work ethic, offering retreat for everyone - from lager lout to G&T fuelled accountant.

Personally, I like the idea of using one part of the globe afresh. I envisage that architects will be receiving commissions to unpick the word 'resort' from these locations and reinvent them as towns-by-the-sea which merge the idea of work with the idea of being permanently on holiday.

I can see that the coasts of Brazil and the Red Sea are going in the Spanish direction.

Turkey already has, and so may Russia or the Falklands. Once they pass their sell-by dates they will have difficulty in going the way of Spain because of the longer flying times involved in getting there. By that time, the Costa Brava will be Kensington-on-Sea, and London's squares will be filled with dulcet tones of: 'Hey I'm off to sunny Spain.'

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