~ For Better Visitor Experiences at India’s Iconic Heritage Sites~
Mumbai, June 13, 2018: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) today, shared its views and lessons at the ’Promotional Workshop on Ajanta-Ellora’, on enhancing visitors’ experience and improving approaches of tourism development in India. The workshop was jointly hosted by JICA, the Embassy of Japan in India (EOJ), Ministry of Tourism (MOT), Government of Maharashtra (GOM), and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
The workshop was attended by dignitaries such as Mr. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, MOT; Mr. Uday Chaudhary, District Collector (Aurangabad District); Mr. N. Taher, Director (World Heritage), Archeological Survey of India (ASI); Mr. Chandrashekhar Jaiswal, Deputy General Manager, MTDC; Mr. Kenko Sone, Minister (Economic), EOJ; Mr. Takema Sakamoto, Former Chief Representative, JICA India and Mr. Takayoshi Tange, Senior Representative, JICA India. The event saw enthusiastic participation from a wide range of public and private sector members, including officials from the ASI who also plays a key role in the conservation of the Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Takayoshi Tange said, "JICA believes that investing in tourism development is essential for investing in visitors’ satisfaction, comfort and experience. Tourism development can become especially powerful when cultural development through the conservation of an iconic attraction such as the world known Ajanta and Ellora Caves, is combined with industrial development at a strategic location such as the city of Aurangabad, leading to the comprehensive development uplifting the living standards of the region. Convergence of quality infrastructure development and client-first visitors’ experience becomes necessary, but this could be secured only when the related authorities take concerted and streamlined action with the cooperation of the private sector continuously. The excellent Visitor Centres constructed in Ajanta and Ellora have the good potential to improve visitors’ experience, only if both centers are appropriately operated under streamlined policies and if there is a continuous improvement of displayed contents by the operators with the participation of academic, local, and private sectors.”
The Ajanta-Ellora Conservation and Tourism Development Project (AECTDP) was initiated in March 1992 to preserve the cultural condition of these World Heritage Sites and to enhance tourists’ experience.
Phase-I of the Project, which was supported by 3,745 million Japanese yen (approximately INR 230 crore) ODA loan from JICA, was initiated in March 1993 and was completed in 2002. It focused on monument conservation and infrastructure development. The Project was implemented among MTDC, MOT, Government of India (GOI), ASI and Airport Authority of India. The MOT, GOI was the nodal executing agency, while MTDC and ASI were the implementing agencies of the Project.
Phase-II of the Project was commissioned with 7,331 million Japanese yen (approximately INR 450 crore) ODA loan from JICA. It was initiated in 2003 and was completed in 2014. This Phase sought to ensure a balance between infrastructure development and tourism promotion, featured by the construction of the iconic Visitor Centres at Ajanta and Ellora caves.
Established, by a specific law, as an incorporated administrative institution under the Government of Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation, as a sole Japanese governmental agency in charge of ODA implementation. JICA is the world's largest bilateral donor agency. JICA works as a bridge between Japan and emerging countries, and provides assistance in forms of loan, grant and technical cooperation so that the emerging countries can strengthen their capabilities.
JICA India Office Web: http://www.jica.go.jp/india/
JICA India Brochure: http://www.jica.go.jp/india/