Newmai News Network
Shillong, Sep 22: Meghalaya Minister-in-charge of Tourism, Paul Lyngdoh on Friday said the Cherry Blossom Festival is expected to generate funds of up to Rs 2 crore from the sale of tickets.
“This year, we anticipate securing funds through ticket sales of up to 2 crores, depending on the lineup of performers, which is currently being finalized,” Lyngdoh said while replying to a zero-hour notice tabled by VPP North Shillong MLA Adelbert Nongrum in the Assembly.
Nongrum had wanted to know from where the state government will arrange the funds for the tourism department to organize the cherry blossom festival in India and Thailand from October 1 to 30 and the cherry blossom mega music contest on November 17.
Lyngdoh said it should be noted that these festivals are not solely funded by the Government of Meghalaya but are financed through a combination of funds secured through ticket sales amounting to 1.25 crores before the festival. “Additionally, we received corporate sponsorships of 1 crore”.
He informed that this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, in addition to the Mega Music Contest aims at nurturing and launching local talent into the music industry, a choir competition will also be organized to provide a platform for local choirs and vocal groups to showcase their musical prowess, creativity and harmonious talents. It is an opportunity for these talented groups to gain recognition and appreciation from both local and visiting audiences.
Stating that the impact of these events over the years has been significant, the minister said the last Cherry Blossom Festival in 2021, attracted approximately 45,000 attendees, of which 25 per cent were tourists, equating to more than 10,000 tourists in just three days.
Similarly, the Megong Festival hosted last year drew a crowd of 3.5 lakh people.
According to data available from the department, a substantial portion of the tickets sold in 2022 were purchased by tourists.
Moreover, virtually all available accommodations were fully booked during the festival period, generating additional revenue for the hospitality industry in the state, in addition to the income earned by locals through setting up stalls, food counters, transportation services, and more, he said.
He said that the curtain raisers organized both nationally and internationally are aimed at increasing ticket sales and attracting high-value tourists.
Meanwhile, Lyngdoh further highlighted that the government has made adequate provisions amounting to Rs 7.5 crore to meet the expenditure for the festivals under expenditure head 104, promotion & publicity, which received approval from the Assembly during the budget session in March. The cost associated with these events will be covered under this budget head, he added.