This paper reports findings from an opportunity study on the appropriateness of implementing community-based tourism standards (CBTS) certification through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) criteria, as a way to improve sustainable tourism provision in the region. Framed by critical reflections on community-based tourism (CBT) literature and existing sustainable tourism standards (STS) practices, qualitative research consisting of interviews with six key industry experts provided core insights into a number of CBTS’ implementation challenges. Findings indicate the main hindering factors for the implementation of CBTS to be the lack of adequate governance, limited funding and insufficient community capacity. The study concluded that although at the moment the full implementation of CBTS as a certification programme would be premature, ASEAN-CBTS’ criteria are a useful benchmarking and strategic planning tool for local communities, which would eventually lead to improved CBT benefits, standards and performance in the region. At the same time, this paper argues that aspects including CBT competitiveness and service delivery need to be tackled first to create fruitful grounding for CBT certification.