Abstract: This paper examines the concept of community based tourism (CBT) to determine its potential in the planning and development of destinations for bird watching. There are two approaches used to describe CBT by tourism researchers. One focuses on community development through tourism and the other on community engagement in the planning and development of tourism. The results from a study of bird watchers attending the 2007 UK Bird fair were used to highlight the importance of providing information about the various segments of the bird watching market to enable a community to make informed decisions regarding tourism. The results suggest that a community must be engaged at all levels of decision making to ensure that development strategies are compatible with community aspirations. The paper concludes that more information about market demands upon a destination is required up front and that communities be empowered with the responsibility of being self directed through the making of informed decisions.