Using tourism as an instrument to reduce poverty is an increasingly common policy in developing countries. Based on a case study in China, this paper analyses the effects of tourism on the incomes of a poor community through the use of a survey replicating an earlier work in the same area supported by secondary data sets supplemented by observation. It was found that local households generally benefited from tourism development but may have over-estimated the extra income generated by tourism. The study also identified the existence of substantial barriers that inhibited a greater participation in tourism on the part of local people. One consequence is that the sought for increments to income are not being realised. Additionally, over time, evidence exists of a changing community assessment of the impact of tourism, and with experience of tourism those concerns become more holistic and not solely related to income generation.