As tourists begin to return to Egypt and Tunisia following the receding anti-government protests, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has praised efforts made by the respective governments to restore tourism.

Tourism is a central component of both countries’ economies and, as tourists begin to return, can play an important role in overall economic recovery, UNWTO said in a statement.

Seeing countries lifting their travel advisories for Egypt and Tunisia, UNWTO praised the accurate actions taken by various nations while issuing travel advisory.

“As the situation has evolved over the past few weeks, I have been pleased to see that travel advisories have been kept accurate, confined to the affected areas and regularly updated,” UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, said.

Recently, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) lifted its travel warning against non-essential travel to Egypt; and Cox & Kings, one of UK's leading tour operators, is resuming its holiday offerings in Egypt, including rebooking of packages that were canceled during the unrest.

According to UNWTO, tourism is a major factor for economic recovery in both the countries. Tourism accounts for 11 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product. Egypt received about 14 million foreign tourists in 2010, while Tunisia saw seven million international tourist arrivals in 2009, generating US$3 billion.

UNWTO is working with the relevant authorities to ensure a speedy bounce back and the upcoming travel trade fair, ITB, will be a good opportunity to consolidate these efforts,” he said.

Here are a few pictures of the pyramids at Giza, one of the few tourist sites in Egypt that were reopened to the public on Friday: