NEW DELHI, Oct 16 - The cherry blossom festival generates huge employment opportunities and revenue, and it attracted more than one lakh visitors last year, boosting the local economy by 300 per cent, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said here today.
Jointly addressing a press conference with the Director of the Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Prof Dinabandhu Sahoo, Sangma announced that the India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2018, which is the world�s only autumn cherry blossom festival, would be held in Shillong from November 14 to 17.
�You can enjoy the full pink and white cherry blossom in Shillong, all along the roadside and the famous Ward Lake,� said the Meghalaya Chief Minister.
Prof Sahoo stated that lakhs of visitors from different parts of the world go to Japan, New Zealand and parts of Korea to witness the cherry blossom. In Washington DC alone, the festival typically brings in more than 1.5 million visitors and USD 400 million in the form of revenue every year, he added.
The IBSD Director said that the India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2017 was celebrated to mark the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister lauded the IBSD�s initiative and said this was another way to deepen and strengthen the connections with the Government of Japan through exposition of Japanese cultural events and cuisine, as the Embassy of Japan in India has come in as a strategic partner for the cherry blossom festival.
The India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2018 will celebrate the unique mass flowering of autumn Himalayan cherry blossoms with several cultural events in the Meghalaya capital. Visitors can enjoy fashion shows, rock concerts, beauty pageants and also compete in an amateur golf tournament. Alongside, there will be stalls showcasing the food, arts and crafts of the region, and several cultural events and a food pavilion of Japan in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in India, the Meghalaya Chief Minister added.