Auckland Airport is within reach of becoming the top Australasian holidaymaker destination for Chinese visitors, airport boss Adrian Littlewood says.
Auckland should be able to overtake Sydney Airport for the number of Chinese holidaymakers annually, he said.
Auckland Airport was also committed to a South Island growth strategy through its quarter share in Queenstown Airport, where visitor numbers were on the rise, he said.
Speaking at the tourism industry's largest trade event, Trenz 2014, in Auckland, Littlewood said that on an annual basis Auckland was only 14,000 Chinese holidaymakers short of the numbers Sydney attracted.
Auckland Airport attracted in the order of 156,000 holidaymakers from China in 2013 with Sydney attracting 170,000. But as part of overall international traffic those numbers were small.
Auckland Airport, a competitor to Christchurch Airport for international visitors, but also a feeder of tourists to the South Island, recently released a vision document for the next 30 years. A runway expansion and a rail link to the city were included in its plans.
The airport also wants to build a combined domestic and international terminal over its existing terminal framework.
Auckland is the second-largest airport in Australasia for all international passenger traffic, attracting in the order of 8 million annually, compared to Sydney's 12 million.