By Aaron Greenwood

Last month’s gala launch of the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai was a fitting tribute to the skill and professionalism of the assembled event production specialists, lead by Dubai-based outfit Prisme International and French fireworks contractor Groupe F.

While it’s hard not to imagine the scale of the launch event had the 828 metre tower opened at the height of Dubai’s boom years (think Atlantis times 10), the fireworks presentation itself differed little to initial designs drawn up by Groupe F’s artistic director and CEO Christophe Berthonneau more than two years ago.

The fact the event production team managed to pull the show together just weeks before the official opening is testament to their ability to get the job done despite the challenging time constraints and the fact Groupe F was also working on the Dubai New Year’s Eve fireworks event at the time.

Groupe F has established a formidable reputation as one of the world’s leading pyrotechnics experts, having previously worked on landmark events including the Athens Olympics, the Millennium celebrations in Paris (involving the Eiffel Tower), the opening of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Burj Khalifa launch combined with various other high-profile events has prompted the company to establish a permanent presence in a region Berthonneau describes as “passionate about pyrotechnics”.

Indeed, Groupe F’s international reputation and project portfolio combined with little domestic competition should ensure the move proves a successful one for the company.

Existing event management firms in this region should also heed Berthonneau’s comments suggesting the company is looking branch out from its core pyrotechnics business to target niche sectors of the events production market.

As always, fresh competition can do wonders for motivating existing industry stakeholders, particularly during times of economic uncertainty.

This year is shaping up to be a defining one for many commercial organisations working in our industry – particularly those who are still suffering the full effects of recession.

The fact remains – as evidenced by Groupe F’s decision to set up shop in Dubai – that this region still offers plenty of commercial opportunities for those with the drive, talent and ambition to make a fist of it.

Aaron Greenwood is the senior group editor of ITP Business’ media & broadcast tiles.