The tourism industry is one of the most affected industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding travel motivation is necessary for the tourism movement, even in the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this quantitative study aimed to explore travel motivation and its determinants. We collected 181 samples through a web-based questionnaire survey of the Nepali people in January and February 2021. The data were analyzed using a probit regression model through two different travel companion perspectives, i.e., traveling with friends and traveling with family members. We found that travel motivation, attributes, travel purpose, and transport mode preferences differed in companion groups. Specifically, those who want to travel with friends are government employees, 20–29 years of age, set health and wellness purposes, choose the bike for transportation, are less willing to visit homestay and agritourism, and want to travel for around one week. Those who plan to travel with family members use the coach to travel, choose rural destinations, including villages, and spend around two weeks. Based on these findings, we suggest that the Nepalese tourism destination and public transport companies make tourism packages targeting the groups. Since both groups showed interest in visiting rural destinations, we can say that tourism in rural destinations may revive earlier than urban tourism after the pandemic. However, a low-risk travel environment should be ensured for traveling to attract more tourists during and the post-disaster.
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