THE hugely popular Bournemouth Air Festival has been named 'Tourism Event of the Year' at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015.

The festival won the coveted gold award, beating off competition from the Cotswold Show and Food Festival, Mallard 75 at the National Railway Museum, Northumbrian Water/Kielder Winter Wonderland, Leapish Waterside Park and Vintage by the Sea at The Midland.

Mark Smith, Bournemouth's director of tourism, said he was absolutely delighted, "Being part of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence cements Bournemouth Air Festival’s reputation as one of the premier events in the national and international calendar," he said.

“The Bournemouth Air Festival encapsulates the spirit of modern Bournemouth as a world-class experience. This free festival brings together the thrill of gravity-defying displays in the air and an abundance of family entertainment on the ground against the spectacular backdrop of the UK’s best seaside resort.”

Last year's festival attracted over 1.2 million festival-goers and is believed to have generated more than £25m for the town and created over 350 full-time jobs.

This year’s Bournemouth Air Festival is from 20-23 August 2015. The festival is sponsored by Mouchel.