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Man to live in Helsinki Airport for 30 days

CNN logo CNN 9/22/2017 By Francesca Street, CNN

Helsinki Airport wants to cement its status as a leading airport.

Helsinki Airport wants to cement its status as a leading airport.
© Courtesy Finavia

Most of us shrink in horror at the thought of being in an airport for just a few hours longer than necessary.

So spare a thought for Ryan Zhu -- the Chinese "influencer" has voluntarily chosen to live in a cabin in Helsinki Airport for 30 days from October 10, 2017.

Channeling Tom Hanks in 2004 movie "The Terminal," Zhu will be eating, drinking and living in Helsinki's transport hub.

It's all part of Finnish airport operator Finavia's marketing campaign #LIFEINHEL -- a combination of reality TV, social media and game shows.

For the publicity stunt, aimed at promoting Helsinki as a transit hub for Asia travelers heading to Europe, Zhu will be sent on "daily challenges" as he adapts to airport living. 

Trapped in the terminal

A popular Chinese actor and television personality, Zhu is the star of movies including "Shijin" and "Daizong."

"The entire airport personnel is waiting for Ryan Zhu's arrival," says Katja Siberg, Finavia's senior vice president of marketing and communications, in a statement. "We want to give him an unforgettable experience!"

MORE: 10 tips for visiting Helsinki, Finland

Zhu will test the airport's facilities -- from its restaurants to massage parlors and the airport sauna.

The actor will be given an open return to escape home if he wants out, but if he lasts the whole month, he'll be rewarded with a trip to Lapland.

MORE: Lapland in Finland -- more than a Christmas fantasy land

Helsinki heights

Online travel agency Travellink recently crowned Helsinki Airport the best in the world -- and Zhu's time in the terminal seeks to prove Helsinki's leading status.

The campaign also goes hand-in-hand with the airport promoting itself as the fastest connection between Asia and Europe.

"We are also the forerunner in serving Chinese customers," says Siberg.

The airport also regularly serves transit passengers. While these regular passengers won't have to stay in the terminal or a month -- Zhu's experience will help the airport ensure it can provides the appropriate comfort and services for stopover passengers.

"The campaign's feedback will be extremely valuable in making our services even better," says Siberg. "We want our influencer to really feel at home at Helsinki Airport."

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