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The nineteenth International Firework Displays Competition in Tarragona will have the most foreign competitors of any Tarragona event. For the first time, four foreign companies will be firing (three was the most before). The six competitors have prepared 9546.12 kg of fireworks so that the 360,000 spectators who enjoy the displays can admire the latest pyrotechnics on offer at international level. This year the competition in Tarragona is focuses on minimising the environmental effects of the fireworks in line with an agreement made with the event's new partner, the Centre d'Iniciatives Ecològiques Mediterrènia.

The interest this competition creates (Tarragona is now the firwork exhibition for the whole Mediterranean area) is shown by the total of 24 companies applying for participation in the six available places. 16 of those companies were foreign and 8 Spanish. Applications were received from Germany, Australia, Canada, Italy, the UK and Sweden. The country which sent most applications was Italy, with eight companies interested in participating. No wonder the final six included four foreign and two local companies.

A year of premieres
This year, three companies will be firing in Tarragona for the first time: the German First Class Pyro-events, the Swedish Göteborgs and the Portuguese Macedo's. The two Spanish competitors - Zamorano Caballer and Astondoa - and the Italian - APE Parente - have already taken part. The pyrotechnic company with a widest experience in Tarragona is the Basque Astondoa, which has fired here twice before, while the Valencians and Italians have competed on just once occasion. For the first time, a Swedish company is visiting Tarragona.

Three of the participants have a long tradition, the oldest being Parente from Italy, founded at the end of the 18th century. The two Spanish companies date from the last third of the 19th century. The German entry is the youngest company, with only four years experience. The selection committee in Tarragona has always tried to combine older and younger companies, a fact which lets us see tradition and technology in the same festival. As far as the business volume is concerned, there are three huge pyrotechnics manufacturers: the Valencian Zamorano Caballer, the Portuguese Macedo's and the Italian Parente. The other three companies are smaller.

The prospect of the displays has created a great deal of excitement, evidenced by the presence of media and observers from Germany, the Netherlands and Eastern Europe. These groups will come to Tarragona with their recording equipment. Tarragona's was one of the four guest teams in Bilbao at a symposium on safety at big events, which had firework displays as the focal point.The International Fireworks Displays Competition of Tarragona shared the stage with other well-known festive celebrations like the Falles from Valencia and the Semana Grande of Bilbao, as well as very special experiences from such as the Canary Islands. All this enhances the position of Tarragona in the world of pyrotechnic competitions in the Mediterranean area.

Economic impact
Each year 360,000 spectators see the six displays, of which, in 2007, 87,228 came from outside the city. According to a survey on the subject based on an opinion poll of 6564 responses, last year there were 18,339 overnight stays at the tourist area of the Costa Daurada during the week of the competition which were directly related to the festival. Compared with the first survey held in 2006, there was an increase of visitors of 32.6%. The organisation thinks this increase is due to the popularity of the Champion of Champions competition.

Of the visitors, 86% came from other regions in Catalonia, an increase of 2.59% on the previous year. Visitors from the rest of Spain represented 6.75%. 71.30% came to Tarragona to enjoy the fireworks, while 28.70% came for professional reasons related to the business of fireworks. Foreign visitors accounted for 7.25% of the visitors: Germany, Italy, Argentina, Austria, Andorra, El Salvador, Slovaquia, Finland, France, Holland, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the UK, Romanis, Sweden, Turkey and China (17 countries, 6 more than the previous year) accounting for this percentage.

News story dated June 2008

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