Nelson apple growers are optimistic the forecast tourism downturn will not cut the supply of summer-harvest workers.

New Zealand tourism leaders are predicting the numbers of inbound holidaymakers could drop by more than 10 percent.

Working foreign tourists make up a large number of the 5500 staff needed to pick and pack Tasman’s apple crop each year from March.

Seasonal Solutions chairman Paul Heywood said a good number of young tourist workers from South East Asia was currently thinning trees .

He expected the numbers to continue through summer, but time would tell. New Zealanders made up most of the seasonal workers, with working tourists the second largest contingent, he said.

Seasonal Solutions is a Government-funded group that helps travellers find jobs and supports Tasman’s Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.