The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) is one of the victims of a wave of public authorities nearly breaking down due to a mixture of inefficient management and the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact. The corporation has closed all its motels in northern areas and terminated the services of employees, which a notification said it was forced to as it had been suffering losses continuously.

This development poses serious jeopardy to travellers and the tourism industry, at least temporarily. The closing down of these motels means there is no government-owned place to stay between Chitral and Gilgit, in Swat and Naran, a discouraging development for tourists who require places to rest in between their travels. Considering that this government has emphasised tourism as one of its most fundamental policies and areas of revenue, making PTDC temporarily defunct is a serious setback. Until the authority is re-established again, it is highly unlikely that tourism will receive the boost that the current government is hoping for. To make matters worse, the firing of PTDC employees will also result in legal liabilities and losses.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, Zulfi Bukhari, has tried to give reassurances by stating that this temporary setback was part of the plan to restructure PTDC in accordance with the best global practices. According to him, it will continue to work as a federal implementation body and that a new structure is proposed in consultation with field experts so that it can become a more efficient organisation with a better workforce and improved policymaking. We can only hope that this is true because the future of the tourism industry without an efficient government corporation looks bleak. The government needs to ensure full support to the restructuring of the corporation and get it back on its feet as soon as possible.