The former boss of Tourism Australia believes Wollongong as a tourism destination can learn a lot from Australia's island state, Tasmania.
Speaking at a breakfast at Wollongong Harbour on Friday morning for the city's new tourism brand Press Play, Mr O'Sullivan said Tasmania had been the country's standout region.
Mr O'Sullivan, who finished as Tourism Australia managing director in June to become the new CEO of Experience Co (the ASX-listed company which owns Skydive Australia), said Wollongong's should follow that example.
"If you look at what they did, it's a really similar story about what you're talking about here in Wollongong," he said.
"If you backtrack about 10 years ago they didn't have a lot of accommodation but what they did do was they built their proposition around natural beauty.
"And then they had three developments that happened that really turned that destination on. They had a golf course development up near Bridport called Barnbougle Dunes, they had a luxury hotel in Saffire in Freycinet and of course the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart.
"Then they had all these qualities around the destination - great food, great wine, great coffee. And you fast forward to where they are today and they're one of the fastest growing regions of the country both domestically and internationally."
Mr O'Donnell said Wollongong's opportunity was in utilising the Sydney market better.
"What really is the opportunity and gets to the heart of the strategic challenge that Wollongong has is 'how does Sydney become a feeder for regional New South Wales?'," he said.
"That hasn't been addressed in the last few years. The biggest challenge Wollongong has, like the Great Ocean Road (in Victoria) in many respects, is its proximity to Sydney is both an advantage and a disadvantage.
"Particularly for international visitors and even domestic visitors, it's challenging them about the destination as a place to stay for a couple of nights rather than just doing a day trip.
"That's the biggest challenge and why I think campaigns like Press Play are so important because it starts to present the destination in a different perspective."
Mr O'Sullivan said the city should be congratulated on modernising its tourism brand with Press Play.
"It's authentic, different and goes to the heart of what Wollongong is as a destination," he said.
"It's got great experiences, natural beauty and (the campaign) should be something you should be proud of as a city and get behind."