Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a Record of Discussion (R/D) with the concerned authorities of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF) of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage (MCANH) and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) to initiate a 2.5 year technical cooperation project on “Project for Development of Culture-Oriented Tourism in Sigiriya” (Project COTS).
The project COTS is initiated in line with the request of the Government of Sri Lanka which was intended at developing the tourism sector that was heavily setback by the December 2004 Tsunami and the ongoing civil war status of the country. The Government of Japan responded to this request through extending assistance to several projects in the vicinity of a new museum construction at Sigiriya, installation of display equipment in the museum, and infrastructure and human resource development with respect to tourism.
The “Project to construct a New Sigiriya museum” is being implemented under the counterpart fund scheme of the Government of Sri Lanka, a scheme which delivers developmental assistance through turning foreign aid into reserves of domestic currency where recipient Governments can use these finances to improve its necessary infrastructure facilities. The museum is expected to be opened to the public by middle of year 2009.
Subsequently to the aforementioned, Government of Japan signed an exchange of notes to further enhance the tourism segment under its cultural grant aid scheme through implementing a “Project for supply of equipment for interpretative display and presentation of the cultural heritage of Sigiriya” for installation of display equipment at the New Sigiriya museum.
Financial assistance worth of 2604 million Japanese yen is approved to be provided through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to improve the infrastructure facilities, access roads and human resources in five identified tourism regions in the country including Sigiriya.
In order to further amplify the outcomes of the aforementioned 03 projects, project COTS aims to extend assistance through hardware and software cooperation and establish the operational and management functions of the new museum, while promoting culture oriented tourism in Sigiriya.
SLTPB of the MoT and CCF of the MCANH will be the joint counterpart stakeholder agencies of the project CoT.