AN MP has warned the council ‘lacks the appetite’ to keep Bournemouth Air Festival in the town.

MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias Ellwood, said losing the “sacred” event would have a long term impact on tourism in Bournemouth.

Mr Ellwood has been campaigning to keep Bournemouth Air Festival amid uncertainty around its future.

Last week, BCP Council announced funding for the 2024 event would be capped at £200k and can only go ahead if businesses, sponsorship, and donations can contribute to the costs.

The funding would also only cover a three-day event, with the air festival typically running over four-days.

Mr Elwood told the Daily Echo: “This is Bournemouth’s flagship tourist event, and it helps define who we are as a town and maintains us as one of the top tourist destinations in the county.

“Everybody is astonished that we might be considering ditching the air show.

“When you threaten this, you really are telling people that tourism is not important for the town, and you’re more interested in simply trying to balance the books.”

While Mr Elwood acknowledges the high costs associated with the annual event, he argues BCP Council has been losing interest in hosting the event.

He said: “I feel there’s a genuine lack of appetite to hold the air show at all, and it’s been picking up for a little while.

“It fits next to an absence of a wider tourism strategy of what the town stands for, and its offerings.”

Addressing the option of a three-day air show, Mr Elwood said: “When you’ve got all the assets in place for the long weekend, to simply say we’re not going to do it for a four day, this is the beginning of the end. It’s an absence of commitment.

“Of course times are tough, and the books needs to be balanced, but we have a massive offering here and we need to have a more robust approach to looking after Bournemouth’s prosperity.”

Now, the MP is calling for residents, visitors, and businesses to back his campaign to ‘save the air festival’.

He added: “I really do hope that the entire town and beyond sends a powerful message to the town hall that the one sacred event that is important to everyone is Bournemouth Air Festival.

“Let’s make it happen, let’s work together, let’s find the funding and ensure that this critical flag ship event stays in our character.”

Councillor Andy Martin, portfolio holder for customer, communications and culture, said: “It’s more than rich that Tobias Ellwood is criticising the council when his Conservative government has cut funding to local authorities for 13 consecutive years - a government he served in as a minister.

“This has left the system of local government broken, up and down the country.

“What BCP Council has an appetite for is protecting our frontline services for the most vulnerable, including adult social care, children’s services and libraries.“