Shillong, November 08: The Government of Meghalaya kickstarted the 2nd India International Cherry Blossom Festival today at the 5th Ground, Polo Grounds, Shillong wherein the Meghalaya Minister for Forests and Environment, Clement Marak, was the Chief Guest. Present at the inauguration function were the Chief Secretary in charge, PS Thangkhiew, Principal Secretary, Tourism, RV Suchiang and a host of dignitaries. The Festival is being held in association with the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Government of India and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Government of India.
In his inaugural address, Marak said that the state government is focusing on promoting tourism potential of the state by organising such festivals which not only boost tourism but also projects the positive image of the state. Stating that Cherry Blossom Festivals celebrated in countries like Japan, USA, Switzerland and Korea have established intercontinental friendship, he expressed hopes that in a few years, the state can get international recognition with the active participation of government departments and stakeholders. He also informed the gathering that Meghalaya is the first state in the world to celebrate Autumn Cherry Blossom Festival based on local cherry trees which bloom uniquely in the state. He also added that the festival will take further the commitment of the Government to promote tourism in the state by showcasing the rich cultural and natural resources the state can offer. ‘By celebrating Cherry Blossom, we are celebrating nature’ said Marak.
During the day, the Chief Guest also released the special cover of the 2nd India International Cherry Blossom Festival Postage Stamp.