Business leaders hope the opening of a new 105-bedroom hotel near Kent International Airport at Manston is a sign of confidence in Thanet.
The renovated Prospect Inn has become the hotel's foyer
The once-derelict, listed Art Deco Prospect Inn pub has been renovated and become the new hotel's foyer.
"A delegation of four recently went from Thanet to China to try to persuade the Chinese to invest in Manston," said Chamber of Commerce boss David Foley.
"We believe they have and there will be an official announcement in months."
Manston airport closed in July 2005 after the collapse of owner PlaneStation and budget airline EUjet.
It was bought the following month for £17m by New Zealand-based air operator Infratil.
"Infratil operate Glasgow Prestwick, which is where Ryanair flies," said Mr Foley.
The Prospect Inn, built in 1937, had fallen into disrepair
"I don't think it would be a great surprise if within the next two years Ryanair started to operate flights from Manston.
"This would be a tremendous boon, not only to the local economy but to the whole of the South East."
Most of Thanet's accommodation is within easy reach of its seaside resorts including Margate and Broadstairs.
The hotel, built behind the 1937 Prospect Inn, will be operated as a Holiday Inn Express.
"We had a number of feasibility reports carried out when we acquired the site," said Jas Dhoopa, spokesman for developer Geminex.
"We do believe the airport, in time, will get a low-cost carrier.
"But there is enough business in the area, with the business parks and Pfizer to carry 105 bedrooms."