WHAT’S Plovdiv got that we haven’t, then?

Last week I wouldn’t have been able to find it on the map, but now that it’s appeared above Salisbury in Lonely Planet’s top ten cities for 2015, I want to know more.

But what fantastic news, or rather publicity, for Salisbury. Three cheers for Lonely Planet!

Now on my top ten list of travel advisors for 2015.

I first heard about this just as I was leaving Bordeaux on the TGV.

The weather was sunny and warm and the grape harvest had been good; earlier in the week I had swum in the Gironde estuary. On Guardian Online I read about storms that had lashed the UK, and then, with some surprise, that Salisbury was now Number Seven City of the World. Bordeaux came nowhere!

I am genuinely pleased.

In this life a little bit of luck can go a long way, particularly if the most is made of it.

To be realistic, this publicity won’t be with us for long. All top ten cities of this year have been relegated for next.

Other surprising choices stand out. Milan at number 3? Go to see the cathedral and Michelangelo’s Last Supper; nothing else.

The league table is both a bit of fun, and a means of promoting Lonely Planet itself. It works if your home city gets a mention!

The Guardian story attracted hundreds of comments. There were two definite camps: the Enthusiasts and the Sceptics.

The former didn’t seem to live in Salisbury, but would like to, and the latter knew Salisbury well.

One lengthy appraisal detailed many of Salisbury’s shortcomings: the ring road ‘noose’; the horrible Maltings and its car park; a ‘tomb-like’ shopping mall.

It was well-reasoned and accurate, but it’s an insider’s view.

The tourist here to see the Magna Carta isn’t that interested.

Lonely Planet’s elevation of our city might seem overblown: (“bursting with top class restaurants,” they say), but let’s make the most of it.

There will never be a better time for Salisbury to make a big splash - stage a major visual art exhibition, announce a new art gallery - than 2015. It will also be a good time to take a serious look at what we offer our visitors.

Perhaps we should send a delegation to Plovdiv (it’s in Bulgaria, by the way) and see what we can learn from them.

Or to Vienna, which Salisbury beat into 8th place? I haven’t unpacked since Bordeaux, just in case I’m needed.

Martin Urmson