AN MP is calling for help from businesses in his attempts to save Bournemouth Air Festival

Tobias Ellwood is passionate about keeping the “flagship tourism event” in the town with sponsorship from businesses, groups, and organisations.

He has also suggested a change of name for the event and put forward ideas for new displays.

The Bournemouth East MP has been campaigning to ‘save’ the air show after BCP Council announced funding for the 2024 event would be capped at £200K in an attempt to keep costs down.

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

Mr Ellwood said: “In these testing financial times it is quite right for the council’s budget to focus on front-line services.

“But this should not prevent the festival moving to a more commercial footing, paid for through local, national and international sponsorship.

“Closing it down will cause serious economic hardship in the longer term and that will mean even greater financial pressures for the council.”

Mr Ellwood said he has “consulted widely” with businesses, residents, and the hospitality association, who show an “overwhelming enthusiasm” to keep the air show.

He noted the air festival show would need £200,000 to survive next year and £400,000 per year thereafter – which he proposes can be funded through sponsorship.

Mr Ellwood said: “I’m formally requesting any business, group or organisation that would like to help sponsor the air show in the future to please get in touch.

“I say let’s all work together to save it, upgrade it and finance it through sponsorship. And let’s expand the STEM village that’s proved so popular last year.

“If there is enough sponsorship coming forward, the Bournemouth Area Hospitality Association (BAHA) should be invited to run the event with support from the council.

“It’s taken years of effort to build this air show’s reputation. Tourism is critical for our local economy. Let’s not throw it all away.”

Mr Ellwood also suggested future events include drone and sustainable aviation displays, and that the event name is changed to ‘Bournemouth Land, Sea and Air Festival’.