Mathieu Hoeberigs

Mathieu Hoeberigs

Mathieu Hoeberigs

Former Head of Sport, Sport Travel and Tourism, European Commission

Born in 1952 at  Manokwari ( indiginous “place of new life") in the Coral Triangle , Mathieu  has  now more than 40  years of  varied experience  in the sports ,tourism and leisure  sector. He is particularly interested in promoting sustainability in the broadest sense and in a pro-active way.

As a semi-professional soccer player in the mid 70s,he  qualified in Law and became a University Teacher, a practising Solicitor and entrepreneur. He started to work for the European Communities in 1983, specialising in economic and financial issues; later returning  back to  Sports , Tourism and Leisure. He served in many different departments including Financial markets , Competition and R &D.

He has been involved in tourism and sports (for peace) initiatives . As a former army officer he promotes safety and security in Tourism , Sports and Leisure. Moreover  does he support  activities  carried out by organisations such as Linking Tourism and Conservation (  where he is a founder member and Living Golf International. His approach in assessing projects and the following through action for sustainability is  holistic, focused on inclusive and forward thinking for the sake of complete sustainability  of any responsible action, covering economic , environmental , social and governance issues in a positive and constructive way.

In sports and tourism   he had the privilege and honour to be involved in the early days  of some major events  such as Soccerex at Wembley to the Golf Business Forum in Budapest. He was involved also in the creation of the Urban Fora for  Sustainable Development, the creation of the  Tourism Sustainability Group and participated actively in broad discussions on responsible travel and tourism. Ethics in sports and governance are still high on his agenda. Having also been at the basis of the establishment of the European Sports Forum and the European Tourism Forum  he continues  dealing , where and when possible with innovative action in these leisure sectors in close collaboration with businesses , enterprises and public/private authorities. Involved in sustainability for more that 20 years he contributed  to the drafting the Agenda 21 for sustainable  tourism at EU level , issues of which  he negotiated with all Accession Countries to the European Union and numerous Third Countries all over the World. Working together with major UN agencies on sustainability and the role of sports development gives him a broad knowledge of the relevant issues. Linking the agreed Global Sustainable Development Goals with the outcome of the  COP21 in Paris is the great Challenge in the years to come for all responsible actors in Sports , Tourism and Leisure. He therefore is maintaining close links with major certification- and expert organisations , personalities and businesses in the field of  Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR) and Global Sustainable Development. He is an active member of some of those organisations.

He is also a strong believer in innovative action, societal engagement, involvement  and commitment . He assists start-ups, mainly  MSME's  in finding their way through administrative complexities, especially in international markets .

Today he is a father of three children and grandfather of 5 grand-children.