News: Changes afoot in Oman

As Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman, passed away at age 79 on Friday 10 January, Oman declared three days of official mourning with flags to be flown at half-mast for 40 days. The Western-backed Qaboos had ruled the nation since taking over in a bloodless coup in 1970 with the help of former colonial power Britain.

His successor, announced Saturday 11 January, is Haitham bin Tariq, 66.  The new Sultan, Minister of National Heritage and Culture, had been appointed in 2013 by Sultan Qaboos to chair the main committee responsible for Oman’s development. An Oxford graduate, he was the first head of Oman Football Association. He was with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1986-2002, and for the past eight years, was its Secretary-General.

The new Sultan sounds as culturally-attuned as his predecessor. This bodes well for the luxury sector of tourism.

Pankaj Khimji, owner of The Chedi in Muscat, says: “I’m sure the New Sultan will uphold the legacy of the previous Sultan and forge ahead in heralding Oman in even greater heights. He had a particularly keen interest in the establishment of the hotel.”

At The Chedi, best rooms are the 39 Chedi Club Suites, right next to the beach – perks include free airport transfers. GM is Morton Johnston. www.chedimuscat.com

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