This paper addresses community-based tourism and raises questions concerning the meaning of the term. Desired results may not be achieved through strict application of the concept in the absence of external inputs in all but a few favoured cases. Tourism, by definition, involves links with the outside world, raising questions concerning the types and extent of inputs that can be accepted without undermining the meaning of ‘community-based’. Through a case study of tourism in Mamoiada, Sardinia, the paper addresses the concept of community and locals’ participation in tourism development. It points out the key role played by local institutions and cosmopolitan locals, who are residents with external exposure, who are able to take initiatives and act as catalysts of development. Tourism planners should carefully evaluate the institutional arrangements, including the presence of cosmopolitan locals and their involvement in the creation of competitive local attractions, for the success of tourism development.
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