One of the symbolic animals of Madagascar (in addition to the cute lemurs and unpredictable chameleons) is certainly the zebu, a bovine with the characteristic hump on its back and large horns. It is medium in size, with small head and ears, with short and smooth hair that can be of different colors: black, red, brown and gray. It is from the same family as European cattle, but is native to tropical Asia, and that is why it tolerates the high temperatures of the tropics much better.

They have been imported to Africa and perhaps crossed with other species for a certain period, but it seems that the Malagasy Zebus are particularly “pure”, more similar to their Asian ancestors.

It is mainly bred for the production of meat, but it also has other important uses.

In fact, zebus are widely used for preparing rice fields, for plowing fields and for pulling wagons and goods.

Without zebu there would be no rice fields, they are used to trample the fields before the rice transplant and thanks to their impressive labor force they prepare the land very effectively.

It is an ecological means of transport: hooked to a cart and in exchange for some grass, it takes the locals along the winding paths of the bush, without having to refuel and without polluting.

It is an animal widely used in Malagasy rites, especially as a sacrificial victim during family ceremonies, major events and demonstrations. Its flesh is also shared to seal the “Fihavanana”, a system of values that is the basis of Malagasy society.

The zebu is also present in death: on the day of the funeral the herd of zebu of the deceased is sacrificed and the skulls are then displayed on the tomb to show off his prestige and to accompany him into the afterlife.

The zebu is very important in Malagasy culture, where it symbolizes an outward manifestation of wealth. Owning a zebu, or – better still – a herd of zebu is a sign of success and the social status of the owner.

So the more zebu you have, the better it is!

RUSSIA – it’s official: from January 1, 2021, the e-VISA for Italian citizens is in force

RUSSIA – it’s official: from January 1, 2021, the e-VISA for Italian citizens is in force

Russia Siberia Visti

From January 1st , 2021, citizens of 52 foreign states, including Italy, will be able to enter Russia with an electronic visa.

The tourist visa will be valid for 60 days for a maximum stay of 16 days, both for pleasure and business travel

The simplified procedure is reported (in English) on the website of the Federal Tourist Agency of Russia.

First of all it is necessary to fill in the application form (link) by uploading the digital copy of the passport (with residual validity of 6 months from the date of return and to have 2 free pages for the entry / exit stamps at customs) and a passport photo in digital format, as well as the payment of a fee of USD 40 (children up to 6 years free)

After that, the e-visa will be issued within 4 days, which must be printed and shown at check-in and at the customs office together with the passport.

(currently, for issues related to the restrictions due to Covid-19, the issuance of the electronic visa is suspended, ed.)

According to the site, the Invitation Letter will no longer be required and will be valid throughout the territory of Russia, thus extending in fact when it already happened for Italian citizens for the territories of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad.

JORDAN – The city of SALT nominated for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

JORDAN – The city of SALT nominated for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Giordania UNESCO

Jordan has recently sent the candidacy of the Salt site for inclusion in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

The city, which is about 30 km away from Amman, was once considered an important settlement in a strategic position on the trade route between the West and the Eastern Desert.

Over the centuries Salt underwent the domination of numerous civilizations, including Romans, Byzantines and Mamluks.

During the Ottoman period Salt had the greatest development, as the regional administrative base was established there, became a trading city, and was the residence of many wealthy merchants who built their homes by mixing local and Western styles. Typically these towering yellow limestone buildings feature domed roofs, inner courtyards, and the typical tall arched windows. When Amman then became the new capital of the Emirate of Transjordan, the decline of the city of Salt began, but these houses remain a witness to those prosperous times.

Salt is also considered a site of interest from a religious point of view. The city hosts, among others, the Tomb of Job, one of the first patriarchal figures in the Bible, and the shrine of the prophet Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, as well as the tombs of two sons of Jacob: Jad and Asher.

BREAKING-NEWS: OMAN – Entry without VISA and NO quarantine!

BREAKING-NEWS: OMAN – Entry without VISA and NO quarantine!


We are pleased to announce that it is OFFICIALLY possible to return to travel to Oman!

Citizens of more than 103 countries (list: – including Italy – can enter the country without an entry visa and stay for a maximum of 10 DAYS, until further notice.

PCR Testing not required prior to arrival, but will need to be performed upon arrival at Muscat International Airport.

The quarantine is replaced by sanitary isolation in the tourist facility until the results of the PCR examination appear – the process only takes 24 to 48 hours!

Travel insurance coverage is required for all tourists also for COVID19.

In addition, all travelers must download the “Tarassud +” app before departure or upon arrival in Oman and upon arrival all must perform a thermal scan. Passengers with symptoms will be referred to designated facilities for further examination.

Those who have to stay for more than 10 days, will have to proceed with obtaining a visa online.



Senza categoria Tourism Connection

It was really exciting to learn that the Maldives received the World’s Leading Destination award at the Grand Final of the World Travel Awards 2020 on Nov. 27th, 2020.

World Travel Awards, established in 1993, is the most prestigious awards program in the global travel and tourism industry recognized globally as the hallmark of industry excellence.

This award is very meaningful, not only because it was the first time that the Maldives received this cob in competition with 22 other major destinations, but above all because it is also recognition of the great efforts made by the whole Maldivian tourism sector – public and private – for the reopening of the destination after the blockade caused by the pandemic.

Today the Maldives are a relatively safe destination and a safe haven for visitors, thanks also to the “one island-one resort” concept. In fact, the whole world of tourism was constantly informed about the security measures and the important procedures in place for tourists, which arrived with the reopening of the borders on 15 July 2020.

As Tourism Connection® we are very proud to represent the international chain The Residence by Cenizaro which is present in the Maldives with two luxurious and renowned resorts: The Residence Maldives Falhumaafushi and The Residence Maldives at Dhigurah and we look forward to welcoming you again and to the soon all the Italian guests.

For information on anti-Covid measures, download the video.

VIETNAM – The TET festival (part 2)

VIETNAM – The TET festival (part 2)


As reported in the previous episode, for the Vietnamese the Tet is the most important event of the year. Their origins are remembered, family members are hugged and prayed together for the ancestors.

Every Vietnamese, wherever he has ended up for work reasons, will do everything to return to his birthplace to visit the tombs of his ancestors and spend this holiday with his family. The party is obviously then extended to each village, this means that the big cities become empty during this period and are particularly quiet.

The custom of firecrackers (which crackled continuously in the days before the Tet) was prohibited by the government due to its dangerousness. However, the tradition of the lion dance remains unchanged, performed on the streets by dancers and acrobats, accompanied by a large costume depicting a mythical monster with a lion’s head.

Obviously the whole festive period is accompanied by the preparation of typical traditional family dishes, in particular glutinous rice cakes, eggs and meat, which require a long time (about 12 hours) and the contribution of various family members who have to alternate between facing the fire.

New Year’s day is characterized by great binges and at the stroke of midnight we celebrate and try to make as much noise as possible to make the bad spirits escape for good. Immediately after we move on to prayer.

Once the new year begins, it is also very important that the first person to visit the house is the right one: possibly male, with a good character, rich, with a happy family and with many children. This first visit will be decisive for the fortunes of the entire year. So it is always better to wait for an invitation rather than surprise someone’s home, to avoid being an unwelcome guest and being kindly turned away by the host.

Happy Vietnamese New Year to everyone !!

VIETNAM – The TET festival (part 1)

VIETNAM – The TET festival (part 1)


In Vietnam, the lunisolar New Year, called Tet, is the most important holiday of the year: it is a sort of Christmas, New Year and Easter put together in a single celebration (it is also everyone’s birthday !!).

The date of the Tet is always between January 19 and February 20 and the atmosphere starts to get hectic. There are plants, flowers and various decorations for the home to buy. But also new clothes, especially for children, and if possible jewelry. You must stock up on food and other strictly necessary things as for many days every business will remain strictly closed.

Of course, we must also think about gifts. The Tet, like us Christmas is an opportunity for family reunions and to strengthen social ties, also through the exchange of gifts.

First, brand new banknotes must be bought (it is possible in the markets and from street vendors, at a price higher than their real value) to be inserted in the red envelopes to give to children and old people. Traditionally, the value of the banknotes contained in the envelopes must always be even, as the odd numbers are associated with the money that is given in the event of a funeral. Bills worth at least 2 dollars should therefore be given away.

It is also very common to give sprigs of peach trees, roosters, rice, rice wine in a pumpkin or in traditional amphorae, dogs and red things such as watermelons.

In the days leading up to the Tet all the houses are cleaned up. Doors and windows are kept wide open for days to let out all the “old” and “bad” and let the “new” in.

In front of the altar of the Ancestors (present in every Vietnamese house and which is completely decorated), a small mandarin tree is placed with the function of keeping evil spirits away.

The Tet has not yet arrived, but the preparations are many and continue, we will see others together in the next episode …



Abu Dhabi Armenia Dubai Emirati Arabi Georgia Giordania Magic Camps Oman Partner

Faced with the growing desire for authenticity, space and awareness for sustainable tourism, Magic Travels has decided to mark a new turning point towards eco-responsible and ethical travel, after a first step initiated by the creation of Magic Camps (eco-chic tented camps in the Emirates and Oman).

This new twist has a name: BEYOND by Magic Travels.

“Beyond”: beyond the classic tours, beyond the beaten paths and beyond the travel experiences generally offered up to now.

This new brand will offer eco-responsible tours in the 5 destinations where Magic is present with its offices: United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, Armenia and Georgia.

But why BEYOND? Because the goal of this new production, which will initially be aimed at individual customers, will be to take them “beyond” the classic circuits and not only to offer “adventurous” trips off the beaten path, but also intense experiences aimed at encouraging meeting with local communities.

The BEYOND programs will be accessible to both beginners and experienced adventurers, looking for meaning, or simply for adventure and excitement.

Social and cultural exchanges are promoted through many original and unusual experiences for responsible and authentic travel.

Closed doors open to offer unique encounters, to discover places hitherto inaccessible but above all to tell the true story of the country. When the journey is no longer a simple destination but an immersion.

In a responsible tourism approach, all programs are created by a team of enthusiasts with full respect for local populations and their environments.

BEYOND, where the MAGIC happens!

ALTAI (Western Siberia) – The stone idols

ALTAI (Western Siberia) – The stone idols

Regione dell'Altai Siberia

The Altai researchers of the 18th-19th centuries often mentioned kurgan stelae they discovered called balbals or idols. Many of them had mongoloid faces carved into the stone. The discovered burial enclosures and kurgans were called “Chud graves” after the widespread legend of an ancient tribe of Chud. Later, mysterious rock inscriptions were found carved in thin lines with a pointed tool. Other objects were also discovered including iron-melting furnaces. It has taken time to study the mentioned sites in detail and attribute them to one common archaeological culture referred to as the Turkic Culture.

In the mid-first millenium AD, there were several developments in Altai that dramatically changed the course of history of the Eurasian continent. In 460 AD, “500 Ashina families” have been forcibly resettled from East Turkestan to the Altai Mountains. The families possessed a secret of iron production. Legend has it that the tribe was broken by their neighbors. Only one boy survived who had his legs cut off. A female wolf saved and nursed him to health. Impregnant by the boy and retreating in a cave, the wolf gave birth to ten sons. One of these was Ashina, a mighty and gallant warrior. His descendants came to Altai and managed to unite the locals to become the core of a new ethno-cultural group calling themselves “Turkic” people.

The Turkic people were mostly warriors. Skilled blacksmiths, they produced weaponry and armor gaining an advantage over their enemies.

The Turkic people were the first people in Siberia to develop and widely use writing (the 7th century AD). Similar to the Nordic one, the script was called runic. More than 90 runic texts were found in Altai.


Credit: Pavel Filatov ph.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Vehicle registration plates

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Vehicle registration plates


A bit like in the United States, even in the United Arab Emirates, the craze – original and expensive – of buying a special license plate for your car, and therefore having a personalized license plate, has spread.

It is normal in Dubai to see many luxury car shows: Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin … but it is not the cars that make the difference, but the plates.

In fact, a luxury car can look out of place – in the eyes of the locals – compared to a banal Jeep with a particular number plate.

The hierarchy of the plates is established by the number of digits that compose it.

They generally consist of 5 numbers; however, it is possible to purchase license plates with fewer digits. In Dubai, a license plate with 1, 2 or 3 digits is much more status symbol than the car itself.

Lower figures mean greater importance, prestige and sometimes power.

People who drive cars with this type of license plate are treated differently: they enjoy more respect on the roads, at the valet of restaurants and hotels have the privilege of having the best parking spaces and not having to wait to collect their car.

His Excellency Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum uses a Mercedes G-Class (personally driven), with number 1 plate, for daily commuting, while his son Sheikh Rashid drives a Mercedes G-Class with number 5 plate.

The cost of a plate with 2 digits (with only one figure is practically impossible to find, being all intended for members of the royal family) can exceed € 200,000!

Buying a license plate has also become an investment opportunity, as it can then be resold at higher prices. There are investors who study the different numbers and sequences of license plates available to find out which ones can become more. For example, triple zeroes on a 5-digit license plate number have an exponential value.

The one who draws the most benefits is certainly the Motorization, which leveraging people’s desire to have an important date in their lives on the license plate has set up the winning advertising campaign “Plate your special date”.