A slow recovery for Nepal's tourist industry

In Durbar Square in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, there are few people who are obviously tourists; just a handful of people eating lunch amongst the piles of bricks. 

If anyone resembling a visitor from overseas does turn up, locals in traditional topi caps, saris, flipflops and fleeces, come over waving their laminated badges, saying "official guide, official guide". They are all desperate for business.

Not that there's much left to tour.

The royal palaces and temples that dotted the city's famous square still lie in ruins, a year after the 7.8 magnitude quake shook the valley. 

Four hundred years ago this was a network of royal palaces, stables, temples - now it's mostly rubble.

Fewer tourists

Nobody has tidied up; so the magnificent 17th and 18th Century buildings are now riddled with cracks and interspersed with piles of dusty red bricks.

At a little wooden hut you buy an entry ticket. Prices have been doubled to 1,000 rupees ($10) to raise funds for the reconstruction but the process hasn't got very far.

And while there are no official figures available, locals say that tourist numbers are down by at least a third since the quake.

Trade battle

Along with the dent in tourist numbers, Nepal faces a host of challenges. The damaged road network requires huge investment. 

Some of the mountain passes previously used for trekking are still deemed unsafe, while the country's power infrastructure has never been reliable. 

On top of those concerns, Nepal has also been affected by a dispute with India which resulted in six months of trade restrictions. 

That only made life in Nepal harder.

"The price of essential items went up about three times, we have to get them from the black market," says Mr Gurung. "Fuel and cooking gas are not available easily."