Bhadarwah (JK), Dec 30 (PTI) Buoyed by steady rise in tourists’ footfall in this Doda district town, billed as “Mini Kashmir” for its scenic beauty, Bhadarwah Development Authority Sunday organised a marathon to promote snow games here. Also Read - Shocking! Family of Covid-19 Victim Forced to Flee With Half-Burnt Body After Mob Attacks Them In Jammu

Over 200 students from different schools of Bhadarwah and dozens of volunteers participated in the marathon ‘Run Bhadarwah Run’ which started from new bus stand Kotli, officials said. Also Read - Terrorist Killed in Jammu And Kashmir's Doda, Army Jawan Martyred as Well; Operation Underway

The marathon was aimed at promoting snow games in the valley town to attract holiday makers during winter, they said. Also Read - J&K: Death Toll in Doda Road Accident Rises to 16

The marathon was flagged off by Jamu Tourism Director O P Bhagat and BDA Chief Executive Officer Rajinder Prasad Khajuria.

After passing through various localities of the old town including Chobia link road, Mohallah Sarafan Dharampura, Masjid Mohallah, Passri Adda and College Link Road, it culminated at new bus stand, where they were received by Doda District Development Commissioner Anshul Garg. “We have decided to promote winter tourism in a big way here and to achieve our goal, we have planned different campaigns. Today’s marathon was one among them,” Khajuria told PTI.

He said the involvement of local populace was a must for the success of these efforts.

To give our plans a practical shape and to make it a success, the involvement of local people is mandatory. Today’s event is primarily aimed at engaging locals from different sections of the society, especially the youths and make them believe that winter tourism is possible here,” he said.

Bhagat said tourism has become the second biggest industry and to be part of this rapidly growing sector, it was imperative to introduce new places to tourists and open the doors to them during winter. He said Bhadarwah has a vast potential in tourism sector and every effort would be made to attract more tourists to the place which is popularly known as ‘Mini-Kashmir’ for its resemblance with the ‘paradise on earth’.

A local participant, Arif Rana, said locals have invested a lot and pinned their hopes and future prospects on tourism industry.

The decision to promote winter tourism would go a long way in not only boosting the economy of the region but will also help address the growing unemployment among youths, he added.

According to the BDA’s official figures, 5.20 lakh tourists visited the region from April to September this year compared to 4.18 lakh tourist foot falls last year.

Bhadarwah is located on the foothills of middle Himalayas. The town is endowed with breath-taking natural beauty which is why it is popularly called “mini Kashmir”, they pointed out.

Apart from having a picture perfect scenic beauty due to beautiful forests, there are many small streams flowing through various parts of the town, says the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism website, adding the Halyan river flows through the main market of the town.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.