Save Bournemouth Air Festival

Bournemouth Air Festival is under threat

Tourism is worth £1.3 billion to this area every year. It supports hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs - in hospitality, trades, retail and services. The Air Festival is our flagship event. Started in 2008, Bournemouth Air Festival has enjoyed 15 successful years bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to our town each year who spend tens of millions to support tourism. 


What is the Council doing

  • BCP Council believes the net cost to the council does not justify the event taking place.
  • Green Party councillors who have a formal agreement with the Lib Dem led coalition council have been advocating to cease the event for many years.
  • The Lib Dem Led Council has removed Tourism as a department, has no Director of Destination and no Portfolio Holder either, demonstrating how poorly  h the council values this important part of our economy.


What are the facts

  • The Air Festival was started in 2008 by Bournemouth Council as a tourism event to extend the summer season, which traditionally ended on August Bank Holiday, in order to support our important tourism sector.
  • Claims that the air festival costs £400,000 were debunked by the Chief Operating Officer at the council's 23/24 budget setting meeting in February, when she confirmed this figure overlooked income from car parking and other tourist-related income, such as sales of ice creams in seafront kiosks.
  • In 2019 the Council undertook both Environmental and Economic assessments of Bournemouth Air Festival. The environmental impact assessment calculated the total carbon footprint of the festival to be 7190 tonnes CO2e. The display aircraft fuel accounted for only 240 tonnes – just over 3% of the total.


Why is it important

  • The air festival is a major contributor to our tourism economy, it attracts over half a million visitors and this year topped a record 600,000. The last independent assessment of the 2021 festival showed a visitor spend of almost £50 million The assessment showed that visitor spend goes beyond Bournemouth to Poole, Christchurch and other Dorset towns as people explore the area.
  • It is additional income to the town, over and above the traditional summer season at it has successfully extended it beyond August bank holiday, where it used to end, increasing the value of our visitor economy. Income from Tourism is currently valued at £1.3 billion per year, supporting thousands of jobs, many of them occupied by young people.
  • As the UK’s largest free air festival and one of Europe's biggest shows, itt marks out Bournemouth and the surrounding region as a premier destination cementing our reputation as as one of the 'Big Four' English resorts. 
  • It showcases our engineering and aerospace industry, promoting science, technology and engineering to young people and is a recognition, celebration and thank you to our Armed Forces.


Cancelling Bournemouth Air Festival would severely damage our reputation, our economy, our hospitality sector and have a long and damaging effect on our tourism industry.




Save Bournemouth Air Festival

I agree that Bournemouth Air Festival must be saved.

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