Air festival gives Bournemouth wings

Bill Perkins

Bournemouth Air Festival has been hailed as a huge success by the town’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Bill Perkins, the Chamber President, said figures he’s seen show the festival increased visitor spending by more than £50m, and that Poole and Christchurch also benefited.

More than 600,000 people attended the four-day event that extends the summer season, boosting the hospitality industry that was so hard hit during the pandemic.

This year the weather was mainly kind and the festival boasted a large variety of aircraft.

In its 15 year history the event has become a fixture in the aviation calendar and it is the biggest seafront air show in the country.

The cliffs allow visitors to view aircraft from a different perspective and enthusiasts flock to the town.

Bill said: “Although it rained on the first day we were blessed with good weather for the rest of the weekend.

“Hotels were almost all completely booked and you can’t underestimate the importance of this for the sector that was hit so hard by the lockdowns.

“The festival effectively extends the tourist season for another week and this makes a hueg difference.

“The entire seafront was packed with stalls doing business and all this helps create a major boost for the local economy.

“Poole, Christchurch and other towns and villages benefited as visitors explored, or took boats to watch the aeroplanes.

“The hospitality sector is what the town was built upon and is why it needs policy to help it wherever it can.

“Thousands are employed in it, many of them young people, and without the air festival these jobs and shifts wouldn’t exist.”