Easier flights will allow workers to live abroad

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The Independent Online

Quicker, more convenient air travel in the next 10 years will lead to workers relocating from crowded, expensive suburbs to vibrant European cities such as Barcelona and Dubrovnik, according to a report published today.

Holiday 2016 suggests that more than one million Britons will be working abroad by the middle of the next decade, creating a commuter belt stretching from Marrakesh in north Africa to Tallinn in the Baltic.

Instead of commuting from a suburb, workers are expected to travel back to the office in Britain only once or twice a month.

They will stay in touch with their companies by using the internet and tele-conferencing. The report from the Thomson Future Forum says workers may negotiate the right to work from their foreign home for two or three weeks a month.

When the international workers do travel, the report says the advent of "chip and pin" flying will allow them to check in instantly with a single swipe of an identity card - with a fingerprint as proof of identity. Frequent travellers may even have an identity microchip implanted under their fingernails. Monthly commuting will be made easier still by "top-up" cards that allow passengers to load credit on a swipe card.

It forecasts that the relocation of so many Britons will create a property boom in overseas cities, withBarcelona, Palma, Marrakesh, Dubrovnik, Faro, Alicante, Verona, Tallinn, Pula and Valencia the most popular choices. It says that while cities such as Marrakesh, Barcelona and Dubrovnik will have particular appeal to Britons looking for culture and attractions, vibrant business districts in cities such as Hanover and Verona will appeal to professionals who want to maintain strong links with their firm in Britain.

The report was compiled by a panel of experts including academics specialising in future studies and environmentalism and chaired by Nick Middleton, a fellow in physical geography at Oxford University. Dr Middleton, presenter of the Channel 4 series Going to Extremes, said: "In as little as 10 years, the way we travel and the reasons for travel will be vastly changed. The rapid advance of technology and global communications networks will make international commuting highly desirable and viable."

Among the report's other predictions are that employers will improve the work-life balance by offering workers more annual leave in return for working a little during some of those days off.

Tomorrow's 'commuter belt'

BARCELONA, SPAIN

Population: 1.6 million

Average temperature: 16C

Property: Two-bedroom flat, €377,000

Attractions: Modernist architecture, including the Sagrada Familia, left, a café culture and great nightlife

PALMA, SPAIN

Population: 375,000

Average temperature: 18C

Property: Three-bedroom penthouse, €273,000

Attractions: Slow pace of life of Majorca's capital, acclaimed 17th-century gothic cathedral

MARRAKESH, MOROCCO

Population: 2 million

Average temperature: 19.4C

Property: Three-bedroom courtyard house, €477,000

Attractions: Historic streets and architecture

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA

Population: 43,000

Average temperature: 16.4C

Property: Two-bedroom house, €265,000

Attractions: "Pearl of the Adriatic" - beautiful architecture and pavement cafes

FARO, PORTUGAL

Population: 58,000

Average temperature: 18C

Cost of house: Three-bedroom house, €178,000

Attractions: Capital of the Algarve with old district, great restaurants

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