A man walks past a poster showing a US dollar outside an exchange office in Cairo.

Cairo - The Egyptian Tourism Ministry welcomed as “positive” the decision of the US Department of State to consider Egypt among the safe countries for travel and tourism, the ministry said in a press statement.

The US Department of State published a map highlighting in green the safe countries for travel and tourism, which included the most populous Arab country.

“The decision is a message of reassurance regarding the Egyptian tourist sites and an invitation for tourists to visit Egypt,” Egyptian Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said in the statement.

He also stressed the importance of the decision for improving the mental image about Egypt as a tourist destination.

Egypt's tourism industry suffered over the past five years of political instability and relevant security issues that followed the ouster of two heads of state after mass protests.

It further worsened after a Russian plane crash in Sinai that killed over 200 Russians in October 2015, an Italian student's ambiguous death in Cairo in February and a tragic EgyptAir flight crash in May that killed all 66 passengers onboard, including 15 French. Employing about four million people, the tourism sector is one of Egypt's main sources of national income and foreign currency, bringing the country about $13-billion in 2010 alone.

The Egyptian tourism minister said last week that about four million tourists visited Egypt since the start of 2016, compared to 14.7 million tourists who visited the country in 2010.

Xinhua