Billionaire businessman James Packer believes the rise of China's middle class will change the world and profoundly alter every aspect of the Australian economy.
Mr Packer told a tourism conference on Wednesday the leisure industry needed to make sure it was in position to take advantage of this "incredible opportunity".
He also welcomed the Asian Century white paper released by the federal government on Sunday, saying it was a "big step in the right direction".
"The challenge now is to have the courage to go any further," he told the Leadership 2012 Tourism, Aviation and Transport Infrastructure Summit in Canberra.
Mr Packer said Australia must build relationships with Asia through languages, culture, education, sport and commerce, and called for a new view of China.
"We need to stop viewing China like it's the Cold War and start viewing it as a modern member of the industrialised world," he said.
The Crown casino chairman said he was amazed by the number of senior corporate leaders, public servants and MPs who had not visited China and still viewed it "through western eyes as a communist state".
"You cannot possibly afford to be in a position of power and not have visited mainland China," he said.
"Going through Hong Kong in transit on your way to Europe does not qualify."
Mr Packer said those who had not been to China did not appreciate how much it had changed and how much the country was doing to lift its people out of poverty.
"It should be almost compulsory for all senior executives and government officials to make the trip to China and gain appreciation of how the country has changed," he said during a speech to the summit.