Community-based tourism (CBT) is part of East Asia’s tourism landscape as local communities seek to diversify their livelihoods towards tourism. However, little is known about the evolution of research surrounding CBT in the region. Through undertaking a bibliometric analysis of 401 Scopus-indexed articles, this research found that CBT practices have increasingly questioned the legitimacy and authenticity of its value to local communities. Findings also illustrated most studies centred on China, and co-authorship networks mostly occurring between research supervisors and their students. Theoretical and practical insights to advance CBT research in East Asia are proposed.