Tourist numbers are going to be restricted at the Tomatina tomato-throwing festival in Spain this year.

The annual festival – a riot of squashed fruit and juice stains taking place in Buñol, Spain on August 28 – has been drawing bigger crowds in recent years.

What was once an offbeat event attracting mainly independent travellers has now become a “bucket-list” experience that attracted around 45,000 revellers in 2012.

In an attempt to cut down on numbers this year, authorities have introduced a ticketing system.

An entry tax of 10€ is being imposed and only 20,000 tickets issued. Just 15,000 of these will be open to the general public, with the remainder being reserved for locals.

Travellers wanting to take part are being asked to book their ticket online.

Timothy Birch, from This is Valencia, an online guide to the city, said tourists would be better off joining a tour however.

“Booking involves bringing a low-cost airline-style ticket with you on the morning of the fight, along with your passport, to exchange for an entry wristband,” he explained.

“It could be a shambles – and carrying a passport into the fight is dangerous. Better to join an organised tour – making sure they already have entry tickets and can give you the wristbands before the day.”

Buñol authorities have said the ticketing system will also ensure the safety of participants, and have expanded the area in which the fight will take place.

Tickets are on sale at here.

Tags: spain
Photo Credit: Visitors walk around from the Tomatina Festival in Buñol, Spain. Davidd / Flickr