HOSPITALITY bosses have welcomed the return of the Bournemouth Air Festival, saying the council’s full summer of events will help tourism bounce back.

BCP Council confirmed the Air Festival would be returning in September and that it had plans for a programme of events “similar to 2019”.

And it is a welcome boost to hoteliers, who had to remain closed for a large proportion of the last year.

Chairman of BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA), Tim Seward, said: “In a normal year, pre-Covid, the air show and bank holiday weekend were the two that were fullest. This will add to the bounce back and will help everybody.

“The fireworks are coming back, they are always welcomed by hoteliers.We are very much ready for summer, the phones are ringing, bookings are coming in.

“The new Festival Coast Live! and the Air Festival will only be a positive and help the whole of tourism across the conurbation.”

Last year, all events were cancelled throughout the summer due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Air Festival presents an opportunity for hotels to be full and is good news for businesses.

Paul Clarke, general manager of the Bournemouth Carlton and East Cliff Court hotels, and chairman of Bournemouth Coastal BID, said: “This is really encouraging news and the timing is perfect – just after the bank holiday. It will enable the hospitality sector to extend the season, which is extremely welcome after a year of being effectively closed down.

“People will watch it from Hengistbury Head right around to Poole so a wide area will see the associated benefits.

“There should also be a boost for the night-time economy which has suffered hugely.

“Of course we can only hope for good weather, but if everything comes together it will be a great end to the summer.”

David Barnes, chief executive of Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC) that represents businesses in the aerospace sector and its supply chain, including many in Dorset, said: “I’m quite surprised it’s going ahead but extremely pleased. It’s a really welcome announcement after the year we’ve had.

“The aerospace sector has been one of the hardest hit so just to get people thinking about flying aircraft again is very good news. It shows a degree of confidence and that too is welcome after all we’ve been through.”