According to the Xinhua news agency of China, Leeber Leebouapao from the National Economic Research Institute told Vientiane Times that the further progress of mega projects would serve as the main driver for economic growth amid the government's revenue shortfall.

A street in Vientiane (Source:
Among the mega projects are the China-Laos railway, the Xayaboury hydropower project, development of special economic zones and other projects associated with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

"If these mega projects progress as planned, we can maintain economic growth at 7 percent in 2018. Construction of several hydropower projects will begin this year while others will be completed and become operational. These projects will be key to economic growth," Leeber said.

During the government's monthly meeting last month, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith instructed relevant ministries accelerate the implementation of mega projects as a means to promote economic growth.

Lao economists say 2018 could be a golden year for Laos if the Visit Laos Year 2018 campaign boosts tourist arrivals as expected and generates more revenues to economic growth and poverty reduction efforts, the daily said.

The Lao government aims to attract at least 5 million visitors who will generate revenue of about USD900 million in 2018./.