AS well as thrilling hundreds of thousands of visitors, the Bournemouth Air Festival creates around 500 full-time jobs and provides a £30million boost for the local economy, it has been estimated.

Tourism bosses have stressed the importance of the four-day festival, which was recently named VisitEngland's UK Tourism Event of the Year, to the local economy.

This year's festival was plagued by unpredictable weather but the Saturday proved particularly successful, attracting a record-breaking 1,300 boats in the bay.

It's estimated more than 750,000 visitors enjoyed the free festival, which was supported by Kier and backed by other business sponsors.

Dale Wood, Kier Partnership Director for Bournemouth said: "We’re proud to have been part of this year’s spectacular Air Festival and credit is due to the organisers who put on such a great show for both local residents and visitors.

"The festival brings a lot of value to the town and supports our commitment with Bournemouth Council to boost local economic growth. We would encourage more companies to support the festival next year – whether it’s as a sponsor or patron – it’s an incredible event for us all to be part of."

Mark Smith, Director of Tourism said: "The Air Festival has received recognition at a national level with the 2015 VisitEngland Best National Event award and we know that Bournemouth residents are proud to be the hosts for such a popular, world class event.

"It’s always wonderful to see local families and visitors alike enjoying the breathtaking displays and on-the-ground entertainment. I would like to pay a particular tribute to the amazing work by the dedicated and highly professional Bournemouth Tourism events team, to extensive council backing and to all the local emergency services and armed forces.

"We are extremely grateful to festival partner Kier for their financial support and long may the resounding success of the event continue."