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Sri Lanka / இலங்கை / Shri Lamka

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The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006 and the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. In May 2009, the government announced that its military had finally defeated the remnants of the LTTE and that its leader, Velupillai PRABHAKARAN, had been killed.

Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Geographic coordinates:
7 00 N, 81 00 E

Map references:

total: 65,610 sq km
country comparison to the world: 121
land: 64,630 sq km
water: 980 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries:
0 km

1,340 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Current Weather
tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)

mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

Natural resources:
limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 13.96%
permanent crops: 15.24%
other: 70.8% (2005)

Irrigated land:
7,430 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
50 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 12.61 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita: 608 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
occasional cyclones and tornadoes

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:
strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes

country comparison to the world: 55
note: since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed Tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand Tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.6% (male 2,593,007/female 2,490,631)
15-64 years: 68.1% (male 7,153,250/female 7,488,816)
65 years and over: 8.3% (male 825,361/female 962,925) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 31.3 years
male: 30.3 years
female: 32.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.863% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134

Birth rate:
15.88 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129

Death rate:
6.2 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Net migration rate:
-1.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121

urban population: 15% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.044 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.14 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 106
male: 19.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.3 years
country comparison to the world: 85
male: 73.22 years
female: 77.47 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.96 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,800 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne disease: dengue fever and chikungunya
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

noun: Sri Lankan(s)
adjective: Sri Lankan

Ethnic groups:
Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.7%
male: 92.3%
female: 89.1% (2001 census)

Education expenditures:

Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
local long form: Shri Lamka Prajatantrika Samajaya di Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
local short form: Shri Lamka/Ilankai
former: Serendib, Ceylon

Government type:

name: Colombo
geographic coordinates: 6 56 N, 79 51 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)

Administrative divisions:
9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western

4 February 1948 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 4 February (1948)

adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978; amended 20 December 2001

Legal system:
a highly complex mixture of English common law, Roman-Dutch, Kandyan, and Jaffna Tamil law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Dissanayake Mudiyanselage JAYARATNE holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister (since 21 April 2010)
head of government: President Mahinda Percy RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (two-term limit); election last held on 26 January 2010 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: Mahinda RAJAPAKSA reelected president for second term; percent of vote - Mahinda RAJAPAKSA 57.88%, Sarath FONSEKA 40.15%, other 1.97%

Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of an open-list, proportional representation system by electoral district to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held on 8 April 2010 with a repoll in two electorates held on 20 April 2010 (next to be held in April 2016)
election results: percent of vote by alliance or party - United People's Freedom Alliance 60.93%, United National Party 29.34%, Democratic National Alliance 5.49%, Tamil National Alliance 2.9%, other 1.94%; seats by alliance or party - United People's Freedom Alliance 144, United National Party 60, Tamil National Alliance 14, Democratic National Alliance 7

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Appeals; judges for both courts are appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders:
All Ceylon Tamil Congress or ACTC [G.PONNAMBALAM]; Ceylon Workers Congress or CWC [Arumugam THONDAMAN]; Communist Party or CP [D. GUNASEKERA]; Democratic People's Front [Mano GANESAN]; Eelam People's Democratic Party or EPDP [Douglas DEVANANDA]; Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front or EPRLF [Suresh PREMACHANDRAN]; Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Somawansa AMARASINGHE]; Lanka Sama Samaja Party or LSSP [Tissa VITHARANA]; Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (People's United Front) or MEP [D. GUNAWARDENE]; National Freedom Front [Wimal WEERAWANSA]; National Heritage Party or JHU [Ellawala METHANANDA]; National Unity Alliance or NUA [Ferial ASHRAFF]; People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam or PLOTE [D. SIDHARTHAN]; Sri Lanka Freedom Party or SLFP [Mahinda RAJAPAKSA]; Sri Lanka Muslim Congress or SLMC [Rauff HAKEEM]; Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization or TELO [Selvam ADAIKALANATHAN]); Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal or TMVP [Chandrakanthan SIVANESATHURAI, aka "PILLAIYAN"] (paramilitary breakaway from LTTE operating as a political party); Tamil National Alliance or TNA [R. SAMPANTHAN]; Tamil United Liberation Front or TULF [V. ANANDASANGAREE]; United National Party or UNP [Ranil WICKREMASINGHE]; Up-country People's Front or UPF

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE [P. SIVAPARAN, Chief of International Secretariat; V. RUDRAKUMARAN, legal advisor]; note - this insurgent group suffered military defeat in May 2009; some cadres remain scattered throughout country;
other: Buddhist clergy; labor unions; radical chauvinist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism; Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jaliya Chitran WICKRAMASURIYA
chancery: 2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025 through 4028
FAX: [1] (202) 232-7181
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Patricia A. BUTENIS
embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 106, Colombo
telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500
FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345

Flag description:
yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a dark red rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green the Sri Lankan Moors; dark red represents the European Burghers, but also refers to the rich colonial background of the country; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag

Economy - overview:
In 1977, Colombo abandoned statist- and import substitution-policies for more market- and export-oriented policies, including encouragement of foreign investment. Sri Lanka suffered through a brutal civil war from 1983 to 2009. Despite the war, Sri Lanka saw GDP growth average nearly 5% in the last 10 years. Government spending on development and fighting the LTTE drove GDP growth to around 6-7% per year in 2006-08. Growth was 3.5% in 2009, still high despite the world recession. Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors are now food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, and insurance and banking. About 1.5 million Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% of them in the Middle East. They send home more than $3 billion a year. President RAJAPAKSA's reelection in 2010 means that the Government of Sri Lanka will likely continue its more statist economic approach, that seeks to reduce poverty by steering investment to disadvantaged areas, developing small and medium enterprises, promoting agriculture, and expanding the already enormous civil service. The end of the 26-year conflict with the LTTE has opened the door for reconstruction and development projects in the north and east. Funding these projects will be difficult, as the government already is faced with high debt interest payments, a bloated civil service, and high budget deficits. The 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession exposed Sri Lanka's economic vulnerabilities and nearly caused a balance of payments crisis, which was alleviated by a $2.6 billion IMF standby agreement in July 2009. But the end of the civil war and the IMF loan restored investors' confidence. The Sri Lankan stock market gained over 100% in 2009, one of the best performing markets in the world. Official foreign reserves improved to more than $5 billion by November 2009, providing over 6 months of imports cover.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$96.43 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
$93.17 billion (2008 est.)
$87.9 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$41.81 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
3.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
6% (2008 est.)
6.8% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
$4,400 (2008 est.)
$4,200 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.6%
industry: 29.7%
services: 57.7% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
7.572 million
country comparison to the world: 58
note: excludes northern and eastern provinces (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 32.7%
industry: 26.3%
services: 41% (December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
5.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
5.5% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:
23% (2008 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 39.7% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
49 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 27
46 (1995)

Investment (gross fixed):
22.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64

revenues: $6.33 billion
expenditures: $10.42 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
86.7% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
81.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
22.6% (2008)

Central bank discount rate:
7.5% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 35
10.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.91% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 20
18.89% (31 December 2008)

Stock of money:
$2.462 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 88
$2.465 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$11.01 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 61
$10.46 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$16.5 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 70
$14.82 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$8.172 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 84
$4.326 billion (31 December 2008)
$7.553 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, spices, vegetables, fruit, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, beef; fish

processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; telecommunications, insurance, banking; tourism, shipping; clothing, textiles; cement, petroleum refining, information technology services, construction

Industrial production growth rate:
4.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29

Electricity - production:
9.901 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92

Electricity - consumption:
8.417 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129

Oil - consumption:
90,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80

Oil - exports:
968 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123

Oil - imports:
87,690 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130

Current account balance:
-$1.69 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
-$3.876 billion (2008 est.)

$6.983 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92
$8.137 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
textiles and apparel, tea and spices; diamonds, emeralds, rubies; coconut products, rubber manufactures, fish

Exports - partners:
US 20.59%, UK 12.87%, Italy 5.51%, Germany 5.29%, India 4.54%, Belgium 4.43% (2009)

$9.7 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
$12.61 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment

Imports - partners:
India 20.73%, China 13.45%, Singapore 7.26%, Iran 6.7%, South Korea 5.23% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$5.12 billion (30 November 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$2.561 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$19.45 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
$16.78 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Exchange rates:
Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) per US dollar - 115 (2009), 108.33 (2008), 110.78 (2007), 103.99 (2006), 100.498 (2005)

Telephones - main lines in use:
3.446 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 44

Telephones - mobile cellular:
11.082 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 56

Telephone system:
general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country
domestic: national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fiber-optic links now in use in Colombo area and fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership is increasing
international: country code - 94; the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 15, FM 52, shortwave 4 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
12 (2009)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
6,090 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 134

Internet users:
1.164 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 83

18 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 138

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2009)

total: 1,449 km
country comparison to the world: 82
broad gauge: 1,449 km 1.676-m gauge (2007)

total: 97,286 km
country comparison to the world: 46
paved: 78,802 km
unpaved: 18,484 km (2003)

160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 101

Merchant marine:
total: 26
country comparison to the world: 90
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 18, chemical tanker 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 5 (Germany 5)
registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:

Military branches:
Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; 5-year service obligation (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 5,493,050
females age 16-49: 5,622,632 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 4,518,582
females age 16-49: 4,701,942 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 172,081
female: 166,358 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
2.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 55

Disputes - international:

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 460,000 (both Tamils and non-Tamils displaced due to long-term civil war between the government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Sri Lanka is a source and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and commercial sexual exploitation; Sri Lankan men and women migrate willingly to the Persian Gulf, Middle East, and East Asia to work as construction workers, domestic servants, or garment factory workers, where some find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with restrictions on movement, withholding of passports, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and debt bondage; children are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation and, less frequently, for forced labor
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, Sri Lanka is on the Tier 2 Watch List for failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of human trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement; the government failed to arrest, prosecute, or convict any person for trafficking offenses and continued to punish some victims of trafficking for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked; Sri Lanka has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2008)


Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010




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